Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weight Loss Check In

I have officially completed my first week on Weight Watchers and I think I did pretty well.  I went to an earlier meeting because it was the only time that would work with my schedule.

I lost 2.8 pounds!  Since my first weigh-in was a Sunday and I weighed on a Friday, I am sure my weight is actually quite a bit different.

Here are my stats:

Starting weight:  221 pounds
Loss:  -2.8
Current weight:  218.2

What worked for me this week:  I tracked like crazy.  I also drank a ton of water.  When I was hungry for a snack, I tried filling up on fresh fruit.  As a result, I needed to buy more fruit.  I stocked up on oranges, apples, pineapple, blueberries, grapes and peaches.

What was my biggest challenge:  Since Jason was gone for the long weekend, I had to take care of both boys on my own.  This didn't give me a lot of time to meal plan, track or update.  My phone isn't compatible with the Weight Watchers site.  As a result, I decided to not track and just eat as healthy as possible.  While I didn't do awesome at this, I am now back to tracking and hope that the scale has a good number for me on Sunday.

I cooked some great meals this past week.  I will update my blog post for a Week's Worth of Dinners sometime soon.  I want to be able to share some tasty and healthful recipes with my readers.

Goals for this week:  Continue to cook healthy meals, keep up on my water intake, and only use 20 of my Flex Points (since I didn't track this weekend, I want to make sure I don't overeat the rest of the week).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Tricks and Tips

Since I am now on Weight Watchers, I thought it would be helpful to blog about what I eat, my tricks, how I feel, etc.

Granted, I am still very new to this this time around but I have done WW in the past so I do have lots of good tricks.

I went to my first weigh-in and meeting on Sunday.  I wasn't going to post my weight on here but in order to keep myself accountable, here goes:

Starting weight:  221 pounds.

Holy shit, that's a lot.  I think that's the highest I have ever been.  It's funny because my clothes aren't fitting poorly.  I honestly do think a lot of the weight is in my boobs because of my pumping/breastfeeding.

I was assigned 48 Points a day due to my weight and the fact that I am a breastfeeding mom.

Let me get down to business and tell you some of my tricks and secrets of being successful on Weight Watchers:

1.  Keep a fully stocked fridge and pantry.  If you don't a variety of healthy things to eat and snack on, you will likely make poor choices.  I also do a big grocery shop before I start the Plan and load up on tons of fruits, vegetables, healthy snack choices and mini "splurge" items.  I always have choices and if I run out of one of my favorites, I immediately buy more.

2.  TRACK YOUR FOOD.  I can't say this enough!  I find what works best for me is to track all my food the day before I eat it.  Sound strange?  As a planner, it feels good to have a plan of what I am going to eat that day.  It keeps me accountable and on track. If I don't feel like eating something that I had planned that day, no big deal.  I just substitute something else.  I try to be flexible but this plan works the best for me.

3.  Eat things you like.  Don't eat a food you don't like because it's "healthy" or because "I should be eating more vegetables".  One of the beauty things about being on WW is that you can eat whatever you want.  Don't like kale?  Don't eat it.  Would you rather eat a pudding snack instead of yogurt?  Do it!  If you eat foods you like, you will be less likely to fall off the plan.

4. Splurge a little.  I love sweets.  Desserts especially.  I find that if I allow myself a sweet treat after dinner, I am satisfied.  It is sometimes something small like hot cocoa or one cookie, but it is enough to make me feel like I have gotten my craving out of the way.  To go along with this, I have to be very careful of what foods I keep in the house.  If I have cookies or sweets in the house, I tend to overindulge.  My way around this is to pre-portion the food out so I am less tempted to eat more than a serving.  So I will take a package of cookies and put two in a Ziploc bag and freeze the rest.

Want to see what 48 Points and one day of eating looks like?  Here is what I ate yesterday:


Bowl of oatmeal with mini chocolate chips - 6 Points
Banana - 0 Points
Copious amounts of coffee with my favorite creamer - 6 Points


Turkey sandwich with cheese on a Sandwich Thin roll - 9 Points
Greek yogurt - 2 Points
Orange - 0 Points
Small glass of milk - 1 Point


String cheese - 2 Points
Apple with peanut butter - 3 Points
Fiber One bar - 4 Points
Celery with hummus - 1 Point


Chicken and Broccoli Casserole - 9 Points
Salad with olive oil and lemon juice - 1 Point
Green beans - 0 Points
Glass of milk - 3 Points
Pudding cup - 3 Points

That's a lot of food right?  I think so too.  As you can see, I am not deprived.  Of course that will change when I stop breastfeeding.

Wish me luck as I venture on this journey!

Mt. Hood Railroad

On Friday, the entire family took a trip to Hood River to climb aboard the Mt. Hood Railroad.  I wanted to find a fun activity for everyone that my Dad had never experienced before.

Jack is obsessed with trains.  He calls them too too teens.  We live near a railroad track so often times one will go by our house and blow the whistle.  Jack will stop dead in his tracks and yell "TOO TOO TEEN!"

Before we boarded the train, Jack had no idea where we were going and what we were doing.  He just new we had a surprise for him and we needed to get in the car to drive to the surprise.  It was about an hour trip to Hood River and he happily sat in the car the whole time checking out the scenery.

We arrived at the station, parked and walked into the building and I think he finally realized what was up.  Shortly after we arrived, the conductor came inside and yelled "All aboard!".  Jack got the biggest smile on his face and started saying "go go go" and pulling Jason's hand so we could board the train.

The boy was in awe.  It was so adorable watching him running up and down the train car and pointing out different things.

When the train started moving, Jack's eyes got huge.  I don't think he realized that the train would actually move!  He continued pulling everyone by the hand and having them escort him all around the train.  You could go outside the door and sit on the back or front of the train to watch the scenery.  Jack pulled Nana out there for a long period of time and just sat mesmerized.

If Jack was inside and the horn whistle blew, he would yell "choo choo!".  If he was outside, the horn was so loud and it startled him and he would cover his ears up.

We trucked along for about 45 minutes until our first stop.  The train makes scheduled stops at two small towns.  The first town's name escapes me but it was a cute little fruit company.  Jack had a good time picking out fruit and putting it in Nana's basket to buy.  He also enjoyed eating some of the goodies that were purchased.  I can't believe how big he looks in this picture.

The second stop was in Parkdale and there we ate some lunch at a barbeque restaurant.  Jack was such a good boy just sitting and eating.  I had packed a lunch for him beforehand since I wasn't sure what food selections there would be.  The weather was so beautiful so we all enjoyed being outside and admiring the train.

One of the cutest moments was when Jack to one of our tickets to the conductor (he socialized with the passengers the whole time) and the conductor punched the ticket.  He punched the ticket just like the conductor from Polar Express.  Jack proudly held up his punched ticket.  He then brought all the other tickets to be punched.  The conductor happily obliged.

On the way back to the station, Jack went with Nana to the back of the train to some of the more comfortable seats.  I walked back there at one point and Jack was sound asleep in Nana's arms.  He had such a good time and was so exhausted that he passed out.  He slept the entire way back to the station.

I would highly recommend this trip for anyone that has a little boy who loves trains.  The tickets were very reasonable (we paid $15 per adult ticket for the coach section) and the trip isn't too long to become boring. The train left the station at 10:00 and returned at 2:45.  In the winter, they offer a Polar Express train which we will definitely be taking the boy to.  He absolutely LOVES the movie so I know he will love the train ride to.  They cater it to small children and encourage the kids to wear their pajamas.  They serve hot cocoa and cookies to the passengers and the train stops and Santa boards and spends time with the kids.

By far, this was probably the most memorable outing we have taken Jack to. He still talks about "too too teen" and says "all board!".  It's so special seeing how a simple train ride can bring a child so much joy.

Cool Dad

Jason has earned some major Cool Dad points today.  It's raining here in Portland (when isn't it actually?) so in order for Jack to get some of his energy burned off, Jason set up his play structure in the living room.

Jack had a blast climbing up and sliding down.  The play structure is now moved to Jack's room temporarily so Jason can have a little quiet while Jack screams in delight.

More Cool Dad points:  Jason captured a spider that was roaming around our house.  He bottled it up in a Mason jar and him and Jack are having a good time watching the spider crawl all around.  They went on the internet to look at pictures of spiders to see if they could identify it.

Cool Dad points:  Jason made Jack a super cool lunch.  Way better than the Mickey Mouse PB&J I made him last week.  He got leftover "pasta" soup, grapes and a special pudding snack.  Jack has never had pudding before so he was hesitant at first.  But he took one bite and loved it.  

Jason wins Cool Dad of the week.  At least in my book he does.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday Mish Mash

I am forcing myself to post today even though I am in a "bleh" mood.

* I am crabby and cranky and have no patience today.  I realized why.  I forgot to take my pill last night.  I need to stop doing that!  This has also proved that in no uncertain terms can I go off my depression medication any time soon.

* Cal is sleeping terrible at night and I think it's my fault.  He goes down in his Rock N Play at first but at some point, wakes up and I bring him to bed with us.  I have no idea when/what time this occurs.  My body is on auto-pilot and when Cal fusses, in my stupor, I reach over and grab him.  I probably don't feed him enough which causes him to wake up more often at night.  My plan for tonight is to put the RNP on the other side of the bed so I am forced to get up out of bed and actually wake up.  This will encourage me to give him a full bottle so he sleeps for longer periods.  Let's hope it works.

* Jack ate eggs today.  That warrants a post of its own but seriously, eggs!  He requested eggs for lunch and Jason made him an egg and cheese omelette.  He ate about a third of the egg and all of the cheese.  I consider this a huge accomplishment!

* I made this delicious recipe last night for dinner.  The only thing I would do differently next time is add an additional cup of water.  My recipe was way thicker and I think that's because I didn't puree the beans with a cup of water.  So so so good!

* I signed up for Weight Watchers!  I am really excited about this.  I am tired of feeling like a frumpy mom.  Since I don't get dressed up for work I feel like I have lost my identity.  Losing some weight and feeling better about myself should help with this.  I calculated my Points and because I am pumping/breastfeeding, I get 49 daily Points!  Holy cow that's a lot!  I am hoping to post my progress on this blog.  I am kind of nervous to post my starting weight.  It's very embarrassing.  Let's just say that my eating has been out of control since I use the excuse "I am breastfeeding".  

* The weather here has been so nice.  It inspired me to focus on getting the backyard in order for summer.  I  bit the bullet and ordered Jack a climbing structure and a water table.  Those should be here any day.  And, I think we are going to buy this lawn furniture set.  I see some barbeques and entertaining in our future!

* Tomorrow, our house will be sparkling clean.  A company of the same name (Sparkling Clean) is going to come and deep clean our house.  It's so needed.  Our house isn't a pit but some parts have been neglected.  They quoted me an initial cleaning of 7-8 hours at $25/hour.  After that, they will come monthly for four hours.  I believe they are going to be doing those things that I just don't have time for:  Cleaning the oven, dusting the ceiling fans, cleaning the baseboards, washing windows, wiping down the cabinets, etc.  I can't tell you how ridiculously excited this makes me.

* Like I stated before, I am feeling "bleh".  I have no motivation today, just want to eat crap and do nothing. It's because I didn't take my pill.  That being said, I think I am going to insist on ordering pizza for dinner tonight.  I do not feel like cooking.  I hope my mood picks up soon.

That's all for now.  Hopefully I will have a nice post in the next couple of days about the state of our clean house and nice yard.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Last week I took a vacation from work.  My Dad was flying in from New Hampshire and I wanted to spend some time with him and the rest of my family.

What a week!  It was super busy but we had a great time.  He flew in Monday night so I worked that day to not suck up an additional day of PTO.

Tuesday we hit up the zoo and it was perfect weather!  My Dad rented a big car so the whole family and two carseats could fit.  When we got to the zoo we realized that it was $4 Tuesday so it was quite crowded.  Even with the big crowds, it wasn't busy in the exhibits.  I carried Cal in my new Ergo carrier and Jack rode around in his stroller and walked part of the time.  We all had a blast!  My Dad had dinner with my sister's boyfriend's family (did you catch that?) that night so Jason and I had a leisurely dinner of Chinese food takeout.

Tuesday child accomplishment:  Pumping in the car in the zoo parking lot while Cal and I chatted.  I thought I would be nervous and worry that someone would see, but you know what?  Who cares?  I opened the car doors for the car to air out and we just relaxed.

Wednesday was a trip down near Salem to Silver Falls.  It was hard coming up with activities that my Dad hadn't done before.  Silver Falls was new to him and to my family.  Jason had been before and he was the one who suggested it.  It was a curvy drive down on a beautiful day.  I wish I could have enjoyed the drive but I was carsick.  Gross.  After a short hike to the falls we took Jack to the park playground to burn off some steam.  We stopped in Salem for a late lunch and then headed home to relax.  I cooked dinner for everyone and we enjoyed some family time.

Wednesday child accomplishment:  Keeping Jack calm after having virtually no nap.  He had a couple of minor freak outs but was such a good boy sitting and eating his lunch at a table outside and not running off.  It is so much fun to watch him do "big boy" things like eating at a table with no highchair.

Thursday the family went to the beach without me and Cal because I had a pediatrician appointment to take him to.  Jason took some pictures and a video of Jack playing on the sand.  I am ashamed to say this was his first encounter with the beach but he had a blast!  He thought it was fun to throw sand in the air which meant bath was in order in the evening.  Cal and I ran some errands after his doctor appointment and then enjoyed some quiet time at home.  In the evening everyone assembled at my house for spaghetti.  I made the family recipe which is a huge favorite in our house.

Thursday child accomplishment:  Not worrying about how Jack was doing without me (it was one of the first times that Jason had Jack without me on a day trip).  I knew he was in good hands and that he had plenty of snacks to keep him occupied.  I honestly didn't worry the whole day.  I did text Jason at one point and ask how he was doing and he said "Great! He loves the sand".

Friday was the best day of the entire week.  I had planned this day and was super excited about it.  I knew Jack would love the outing and I am absolutely right.  Our adventure warrants its own post so I will just say we had an awesome day on the Mt. Hood Railroad.  With a toddler that LOVES trains (too too teen) he was in awe.  After such a fun day we decided to head out to a fun dinner at Laurelwood Brew Pub.  This was my choice since no one seemed to want to make a decision.  It has a play area for kids and great food for the adults.

Friday child accomplishment:  Feeling like an in-control parent when letting Jack loose in the play area.  He was such a good kid!  He played happily until it was time to eat and then went right back to playing.  He never tried running or taking off which is amazing for my super high energy boy.

Saturday was a boy's day.  Jason and my dad, his dad and several of his friends all went shooting up on the mountain.  Lynn and I had a very nice breakfast at one of my favorite places (New Deal) with the boys.  Cal slept and Jack played.  After that was a trip to the playground and of course Jack had a blast.  To wrap up our busy week, everyone had dinner over at my in-laws.  I am really lucky that my dad and in-laws like each other so much.  They had so much in common so it's a natural pairing.

Saturday child accomplishment:  Changing Cal in the back of my car and not getting any of his massive poo diaper anywhere.

I am exhausted after such a busy week.  I am definitely still trying to play catch-up with sleep.  I feel like I might be getting mastitis which would not be a surprise after all the running around I did.

To wrap up this post, here is a picture of the boys.  You have to enjoy them separately since it's hard to get them both together.

Jack and Grant having a boys conversation

This picture cracks me up.  Every time we would go through a tunnel or under an overpass, the change in light made Cal's eyes get huge.  We were all laughing in the car and I couldn't resist the opportunity to take a picture.

Look for a separate post about the Mt. Hood Railroad.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Third of a Year!

Cal is officially a third of a year old (4 months for those who can't do math)!  Due to our insane schedule last week, I didn't get a chance to blog.  I will post an update of our week but for now, it's all about Calvin.

Calvin had his 4 month well baby appointment on Thursday.  He was such a good boy for the appointment!  I took him solo since the rest of my family was at the coast (jealous!).

Here are his stats:

16.4 pounds (75th percentile)
25.5 inches (75th percentile)

My baby is perfectly proportioned!

I chatted with the doctor about food and he has shown quite the interest in our meals.  That being said, she said she was comfortable with us starting him on cereal.  I asked about the obesity and allergy implications and she was not concerned with either.  He has all the developmental milestones for eating (tongue thrust reflex and an interest in food) so why not?  I considered trying baby led weaning but decided against it for several reasons.

Cal did get some shots but he is such a show off.  He smiled at the nurse the entire time and only fussed for a nanosecond when the second needle was inserted.

After the appointment, he had a bottle in the waiting room and then passed out in his carseat.  The weather was so beautiful that the two of us spent the rest of the day together and ran errands out in the sun.

Here are some things that Cal is up to this month:

* He is grasping for everything!  He loves toys and reaches for anything in front of his face.  As soon as he gets something in his hands, it immediately goes into his mouth.

* Cal has a tooth coming in soon.  The pediatrician felt a hard spot on his gum which would explain the massive amounts of drool that he is producing.

* My big boy is now eating big bottles.  He takes about 3-4 ounces at a time every 2 hours.  Yes, you read that correctly.  He loves to eat.

* Speaking of eating, he had his first cereal the afternoon of his appointment.  I bought some organic brown rice cereal and he LOVED IT!  He was like a little baby bird opening his mouth and waiting for the spoon.  Ever since than he has having a couple of tablespoons of cereal a day.  I am not sure when we will make the transition to other foods.  I still think he might be too young.

* You LOVE your bath.  I am considering giving you a bath more than twice a week because you love it so much.  You splash and smile and coo the whole time while in the bath.  Most babies don't like getting water in their face but I accidentally got some on your's and you just smiled.  It's so fun seeing you in the tub.

* Generally you are such a happy baby and smile all.the.time.  All it takes is to smile big at you and you do the same right back.  The last couple of days have been rough.  I am not sure if you are lonely and want to be held every second, or you are going through a growth spurt or if the introduction of solid food is bothering you but you have been pretty cranky.  I am sure you will get back to your happy self soon.

* You are wearing 6 month clothes now.  Mainly because of your cloth diapers.  You can still squeeze into some 3 month stuff but you kind of look like the Michelin Man when we dress you in that size.

* You giggle pretty much any time you are tickle and for the first time a week ago you giggled without being touched.  I was making silly sounds and faces at you and you just giggled away.

* On your 4 month birthday you rolled from your belly to your back for the first time.  Since then you have done it several more times.  It seems like you want to go from back to belly too because of the way you contort your body when laying on your back.

* Your favorite toy is your taggie blanket.  You chew and rub that thing constantly!  God forbid we forget it in the car or on a day trip because you love it!

You are the sweetest little boy Cal.  I can't believe you are 4 months old.  I want you to stay a baby forever but at the same time can't wait to see you grow up and watch you reach all your milestones.

Mommy and Daddy love you!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Awesome Weekend

I honestly can't remember a time that I had such a great weekend.  It was definitely one of the best ones I (we) have had in a long time.

On Friday, Jack went to Nana's and to JJ Jump which he loves.  He had a blast at "Jump pace" (jump place).  I went to a cute boutique near me called Bella Stella and purchased an Ergo baby carrier.  I have been wanting a carrier more substantial than my Moby for longer trips to the zoo and something lighter weight for the summer.  I got a fun purple color and love it!  Cal seems to love it as well.

After doing our weekly grocery shopping we had a nice dinner over at my in-laws house.

Saturday was Jason and my date day.  We dropped both boys off at my in-laws and headed to our dual massage appointment.  I had a new massage therapist since my last two have quit unexpectedly.  I have a curse when it comes to massage therapists!  Kristen was great and I walked out of the massage completely relaxed.  Jason was reluctant to go in the first place but I insisted.  He has back issues and lifts heavy babies all day so he needed the rubbing.  Well after his appointment he is officially hooked.  We have another appointment in a month.

After our massages, we had a nice lunch next door.  We ate, talked, and spent some quality time together.

I insisted we head up to Vancouver to a cloth diaper store I had been wanting to check out for quite some time.  Oh my.  I was in cloth diaper heaven.  It is probably good that Jason was there with me because I would have spent a fortune otherwise.  I did buy one new diaper that I don't have in my stash (A BumGenius Freetime) as well as a swim diaper for Mr. Cal.  We plan on taking a trip to a nearby water park soon and I want Cal to have a swim diaper.

Since I forced Jason into the cloth diaper store, we made the trek to Walmart so he could look at prices for one of his hobbies.

By the time we got back to my in-laws' it was 6:00 and Jack was eating dinner.  We didn't intend for him to eat over there but it worked out fine.  It is less work for me when we get home!  Jason headed out for game night shortly after we arrived home and I settled down for a night with my boys.

I got Cal down to bed around 8:30 after quite a struggle.  He was double swaddled and wasn't happy about it.  I am trying to get him to sleep better after a few weeks of "eh" sleep.  To my surprise, he slept from 8:30 to 3:30.


He made up for it by waking up every hour after that though.

On Sunday, Lynn came over and took Cal to church and I had a surprise for Jack.  We stopped at Target for some water wings and then it was off to the pool!  It's an indoor facility with a big water slide and he had a blast!  I put him on my lap and we went down the slide over and over again.

Jack took to the water like a fish.  He had no fear and was splashing around and jumping into the deep end.

Every time we would go down the slide, he would go underwater, come up for air and then yell "Do it again!".  I swear we went down that slide about 10 times.

Jack crashed hard at nap time after all the excitement.  I took advantage of two sleeping babies and left the husband at home on childcare duty and headed to Costco and then grabbed a pizza on the way home.

I got so much done this weekend and got to spend quality time with all my boys.

It truly was one of the best weekends we have had.

A Week's Worth of Dinners

Time for the next weekly installment!

Sunday I had my sister over for dinner.  We were going shopping beforehand and then hanging out at home.  I didn't want to spend all my time in the kitchen cooking so I decided to use my trusty crockpot.  Spaghetti is a family favorite so I made this meal.  It's called Nancy's Spaghetti Sauce.  I have made this before.  As a matter of fact, the link I provided it to my old cooking blog.

This is a yummy and very hearty pasta sauce.  It is a crowd pleaser because it contains both meat and veggies. Serve it with a salad and bread and you have an awesome meal.  Jack has been eating the leftovers.  He asks for "pasta" for lunch.  It's really cute.

Like my glass of milk in the background?  I always drink milk with spaghetti.

Monday night was another crockpot meal.  I swear, it's my favorite kitchen appliance.  I use it all the time and Jason teases me about it.  Mongolian Beef, yum!  I was skeptical about this one.  I am not sure why but sometimes it's best to cook something out of your comfort zone otherwise you won't find new favorites.

This turned out surprisingly good!  The sauce got thick because of the cornstarch you dredge the meat with. I didn't use flank steak like the recipe calls for.  I had a family pack of petite sirloins that I needed to use which coincidentally is less expensive than flank steak.  The meat got really tender and flavorful.

Jason loved this so I am positive I will be making it again.  The only downside is that it takes a lot of ingredients.  Mostly spices but I had them all on hand so it wasn't a huge issue.  But if you don't stock things like cooking sherry or sesame oil it can be an expensive dish to make.

We had this over rice and had salad alongside.

Tuesday night brought up homemade Baked Chicken Nuggets and they were yummy!  They took a little while to prepare but they were worth it.  Even my super picky child ate a couple. I served them with french fries and green beans.  I also made a homemade buffalo sauce to dip the nuggets in.  Yum!  

I doubled this recipe and I am glad I did because both Jason and I went back for seconds.  We still have some left over for a lunch as well.  I did make a goof and forgot to spray the baking sheet.  Had I done that, the nuggets would not have stuck to the tray.  Oh well, live and learn.

Wednesday night I made Buffalo Chicken Chili.  We love spicy foods in our family and this one delivered!  It was spicy without being uncomfortable.  I cut up some celery and heated some rolls to eat alongside.  Jason loved this but complained that the bleu cheese was too strong.  Dude, next time don't put so much on the top of your chili!

Thursday night I made meatloaf.  I don't follow a recipe.  I typically just throw together a mix of stuff.  After all, meatloaf is pretty flexible when it comes to ingredients.  As long as you have an egg and a binder of some sort, it usually will turn out.  I also don't have a picture because let's admit it:  Meatloaf looks like dog food.

Here is what I put in this meatloaf.  Keep in mind these are rough measurements.

* 2 pounds of ground beef
* egg
* 1/2 cup oatmeal
* 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
* 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
* 1/2 cup milk
* spices to taste:  Salt, pepper, red chili flakes, thyme, dried mustard

Jason claimed this was one of the best meatloaves he had ever eaten.  I will say it was pretty tasty.

Friday night was dinner over at my in-laws and Saturday was Jason's game night so no dinner posts those two days.

I am on vacation for the next week and will be cooking but I probably won't have a lot of time for a post.  That means I will have more catch up to do later!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baby Gear

As I was going through and labeling all my blog posts, I found one that I never published!  Here is a very old post back from 2010.  Have fun reading!


I always loved reading people's advice on baby gear that they loved and hated. I found it extremely valuable when I went to register and subsequently buy all our baby stuff. We have a premium for space so the gear we bought had to fit and not be overkill. You can't put a lot of baby stuff in a 720 square foot house.

Here are some things that we LOVE and things that we don't love so much.

Gear we LOVE!

* Bottle warmer. Seriously, no judging. I never thought I would buy one of these. I thought they were ridiculous. But when you have a baby that absolutely refuses to wait for a warm bottle, it's a necessity. We love our First Years bottle warmer. It's the best $29.99 we ever spent.

* Swing. Jack loves his swing. He spends many a nap time in his swing. It's a Boppy Rock In Comfort Travel Swing. We love it because it's compact (ahem, 720 square feet), can be folded up to take with you and because it's just cute. It's super soft and easy to use and takes batteries. I would never have a swing that plugs in because we have a cat that chews cords. The swing is great. You can put him in the swing if you need to run to the bathroom quickly or if you need to put him down while he's napping. Great product!

* Swaddle Me blanket. We don't swaddle often (only when he goes down for bed at night) but this blanket makes it VERY easy. Jack has Houdini hands and can escape from a swaddle made with a regular blanket. He cannot get out of this one. It's great because he's secure and doesn't startle himself awake with his little arms. We call it his baby straightjacket. It's warm and he sleeps great when we use it on him.

Things we don't love

* My wrap. I won't name names but I don't love my wrap. I want to disclaim though that it's probably operator error. I have tried and tried and tried to wrap and put Jack in it, but he fusses and I can never get it to work right. I have watched the YouTube videos and I can wrap it just fine. But the baby is just not comfy in it. Oh well. At least I bought it used and didn't spend a lot of money.

* Avent bottles. They leak. And Jack gets more gas when we use them. Enough said. I know a lot of people love them, but we don't.

* My diaper bag. I was very very excited to get this diaper bag. It was custom made off of Etsy and at first, it was great. However, I quickly realized that it wasn't big enough. It doesn't have enough space to hold extra diapers, wipes, my changing pad, extra clothes, burp cloths, blanket, toys and other random stuff. It's really too bad because the bag is super cute. I ended up buying a super big tote bag from Costco that is stylish and has enough room to store all his stuff. Big waste of $50 on the original bag. I will still keep it and use it as a cute tote in the summer time.

A Week's Worth of Dinners

Last week was all about easy cooking.  I was at a client site for work and didn't have time to make complicated meals.  I relied on my crockpot a lot.  I would prep dinner the night before so all Jason had to do was take the crock out of the fridge and set it in the crockpot and turn it on.  Easy!

Monday night I made Apricot Chicken.  This is similar to a recipe my mom used to make.  The chicken turns out super moist and flavorful.  I actually added a bit more apricot preserves because when I tasted the sauce, it didn't taste much like apricot and it wasn't very thick. After the extra, it was yummy!  I served this over rice and added a salad.  This will be sure to make it in our rotation frequently.  And can I say just how much I love the blog I have linked above?  If I want a fun, new crockpot recipe, I always check here first.

Tuesday night was honestly the best chili I have ever eaten or made for that matter.  Jason agreed that this Chicken Taco Chili was amazing.  Even better?  It's healthy which will come in handy when I start up Weight Watchers again.

When I prepped this, I threw the chicken breasts on the top still frozen.  They were still frozen by the next morning when Jason turned on the crockpot but that didn't stop them from turning out moist and easy to shred.  I love that this recipe was incredibly easy to make and very affordable.  We always have chicken, onions and the spices on hand so I just had to buy the canned items, the taco seasoning and the corn.  I want to say this meal was $5.00 not including the chicken.

It was so good that we were fighting over the leftovers.  Add in a dash of Tabasco sauce and it was perfect.

I am seriously drooling just looking at this picture

Wednesday night was steaks on the barbeque and side dishes.  I don't have any pictures because we all know what steaks look like.  Jason made a spicy steak rub recipe and generously coated the steaks before grilling and they were tasty.

Thursday night I went out to dinner with my coworkers so no meal preparation.  Friday was dinner at my in-laws so again, no dinner prep. Saturday is Jason's scheduled game night so it was leftovers for me.

My last recipe isn't dinner but it's sure delicious!  A little backstory:  A few years ago, Jason and I were at Sandlake Country Inn for our anniversary and we went out to dinner at a little restaurant called Roseanna's Cafe.  We ordered the Tollhouse Pie for dessert and fell in love.  It was like a chocolate chip cookie in pie form.  As soon as we got home, I tried duplicating the recipe.  Nothing ever turned out as good, but I did come close with this recipe.

This is not for the faint of heart.  Especially not when you plunk a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the plate as well.  Heaven!

A Week's Worth of Dinners

Time for the third installment of my made up series! 

Sunday night was Baked Ham with this glaze.  I had forgotten that Easter was coming up when I purchased this ham.  Oh well, I guess it's okay that we ate ham two Sundays in a row.  I didn't want to just bake the ham without any glaze or topping so I did a quick search on AllRecipes (one of my favorite recipe sites) and came up with the linked glaze.  I didn't have an Irish stout so I used an oatmeal stout that I had on hand. 

I basted the ham every 15 minutes.  The glaze wasn't really glaze-y.  Instead, it was more like a sauce.  It still had a good taste to it - it definitely tasted like beer! - and I spooned some over my ham as evidenced in this picture.

The leftover ham will make another appearance later this week in the form of a quiche.

Monday night was Baked Ziti with Spinach.  This is a healthy recipe that I doctored up, which in turn made it not healthy anymore.  Oh well, maybe next time?  I added a pound of hot Italian sausage and used regular pasta.  If you were to use turkey sausage and the high fiber pasta that the recipe calls for it would still be healthy. 

This was DELICIOUS!  I am a huge pasta lover so this satisfied my craving.  It was cheezy and ooey gooey.  It was a little too hot so next time I will use mild sausage rather than the hot.  Jack even ate it although he scraped off the spinach.  Little bugger.

This also made a ton so I am eating the leftovers this week for lunch.  Yummy!

Tuesday night was Ham, Cheese and Broccoli Quiche.  I wanted to use up the leftover ham from Sunday night. 

I really love quiche.  Jason didn't think he did until I made it for him a couple of years ago.  Apparently he didn't have good quiche.  Heh heh. 

Please note that the instructions for baking are in Celsius.  The equivalent in Fahrenheit is about 350 degrees (356 exactly). 

The verdict?  Yummy!  Mine turned out a little watery when I cut into it but that is probably because I didn't let it sit for the 5 minutes the recipe calls for.  My bad.

Wednesday night was Velveeta Down Home Macaroni and Cheese with hotdogs.  Don't judge, I have a ton of Velveeta leftover from another recipe and I didn't want to just throw it out. 

Mac and cheese is a favorite in our house.  It's something that all of us (with the exception of Cal) will eat.  Jason didn't love this recipe.  He claimed that he could tell it was made with Velveeta.  Jack and I liked it though.

It was very easy to make and it really was like making standard macaroni and cheese, complete with a roux.

I served ours with hot dogs. I usually bake the hot dogs on top of the mac and cheese but this recipe called for a breadcrumb topping so I didn't want to cover it up with hot dogs.  And don't fear, we eat good hot dogs.  And no buns.

This picture didn't turn out so hot but here is the Velveeta gooeyness:

Thursday night I didn't cook.  I was exhausted after being on-call for the week at work so we ordered pizza.    Friday night was dinner at my in-laws so again, no dinner post.  But I will leave you with........

Bonus Dessert/Breakfast recipe!

I wanted to make something sweet (when don't I?) that we could have.  But amazingly enough, I wasn't feeling chocolate.  I thought blueberry muffins would taste good but I didn't have any eggs on hand.  Which in itself is unusual because I hardly ever run out of ingredients.  After a Google search of egg free blueberry muffins, I came up with this.

Oh my gosh.  Go out and make these muffins immediately!  Every time I make muffins they are either dry, tasteless or do not have enough blueberries.  These were amazing!  Super moist and filled with blueberries.  I wish Jack would have eaten one but he turned up his nose.  Considering his love of blueberries, I thought he would love them but he took one bite and decided against more.  I didn't even bother thawing the blueberries before I threw them in the batter.  Maybe that added to the moistness of the finished product. 

Aren't these gorgeous?  Ignore my old muffin pans.

I want to make these again.  Like yesterday.

That's it for this installment.  Since I am playing catch up, another post of dinners will be coming in the next couple of days.