Monday, January 31, 2011

Refried Beans from Canned Black Beans and Pan Nachos

Because of my issue with soy I am needing to find alternatives for most foods, refried beans being one of them. My amazing sister showed me how to make my own "refried beans" using canned black beans. It is super easy and equally delicious.

For my family of five I use:

2 - 14oz cans of black beans (drained and rinsed well)
3-4 cloves of garlic (peeled and chopped finely)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of water

Boil these on the stove until most of the liquid has been cooked out. Then you can either serve them as is or mash them up a bit. I put them through the food processor for a few seconds since I don't have a potatoes masher.

I have been using this recipe to make nachos so I usually add about a 1/4 cup of taco seasoning. Also, don't be afraid to add some minced veggies. I've added onion and zucchini (mince half a zucchini in the food processor or blender before mashing the beans) and my family was none the wiser.

The fact that this is a healthier version of refried beans hasn't occurred to them either. I LOVE it!

For Pan Nachos:

If you want meat:

brown 1 lb of burger (add taco seasoning packet)
add beans
add 1 can of stewed tomatoes (drained)

Spread on a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Top with your favorite nacho toppings (cheese, olives, green onions, jalapenos, etc). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden around the edges. Serve with chips, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc. You can even use it as a filling for burritos.

This recipe gives us plenty for one dinner and lots of leftovers. Since it's not a meal the girls especially enjoy we usually have plenty left over. I made this for the five of us and my parents and we still had leftovers so I imagine it would be safe to say it feeds 6-8 adults (with the meat).


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Next Step: The Big Girl Bed

Last night was Hazel's first night in her big girl bed. Abiah was already in a big bed when he moved in with us so this is the first time that we are taking this step with one of our kids. I know most of you probably wonder why we still had our three year old in a crib. The answer?

Hazel was 15 months old when Amelia was born. A big girl bed was not an option. She has only attempted an escape from her crib once and she didn't like the result of falling on the floor so she has never attempted it again. It has just been easier to keep her in her crib then to go through the fight of keeping her in bed. There are lots of safety concerns I've had also. We are working through all of that, though.

Since we need her crib for Jackson soon I would rather start the fight now and gain some ground then start right after having a baby. So we took the plunge. She was so excited. She begged us all the first evening to be able to go to bed, even going so far as to claim to be tired. At 5 in the evening.

When we laid the girl's down at 7 we were prepared for a fight. Amelia was pretty upset that she couldn't sleep in the "Bugur bed, bugur bed!" and she cried about that for a few minutes but they both went to sleep with very little issue. I think Nathan only had to go back in their room once.

I tried not to get too cocky and I'm glad I had that foresight. Otherwise my pride would have taken a serious hit at 2:30 in the morning when Hazel first called for me. Here's a brief overview of the happenings in our house from 2:30am - 5:00am this morning:

2:30- Hazel calls for me and I wake from the most restful sleep I've had in a few weeks and go to check on her. I find her room semi-rearranged and her sitting angelically on her bed. She announces that she is ready. For what I'm not sure. I correct her and put her back to bed telling her it's the middle of the night and therefore still time to sleep.

2:35- Hazel calls that she needs to poo. I vacillate between the idea of the journey downstairs just for a false alarm and the thought of changing a poopy three year old. I decide to take the trip down stairs.

2:45- We head back upstairs after a false alarm is confirmed. I remind her that it is the middle of the night and therefore still time to sleep.

2:50- Hazel calls to me and I come just to find that she's ready. She still doesn't know what she's ready for though. This continues until about 3:30. That's when Amelia chimed in with, "Mik in der, Mom? Mine? Mik in der?" Which roughly translates to, "Is there milk in my cup and if there isn't would you please go down stairs and get me some?" I tell Amelia she has had plenty of milk and remind both girls that it is the middle of the night and therefore still time to sleep.

3:40- Amelia has decided to protest and begins rattling her cup against the bars of her crib "prison style." I'm sure I hear choruses of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" coming from her room.

3:45- I crawl back into bed from having just reminded the girls that it is STILL the middle of the night and therefore still time to sleep.

3:50- Jackson decides that one of my internal organs resembles a disco ball and starts dancing to a rhythm that only he can hear.

3:50-4:30- Was broken up between reminders to Hazel that it was still the middle of the night and therefore still time to sleep!!!, a threat to return Hazel to the empty baby bed if sleep was not had soon, being woken from my attempts at sleep by a few more "prison like" protests from Amelia, and Jackson's dance party.

5:00- I was almost asleep and I heard a door close down stairs. I assume it is Abiah going to the bathroom but I can't rest until I know for sure that Hazel didn't sneak past my radar and get down the stairs by herself. I get up and check on her and she is sleeping in her bed. I do a little dance of victory and joy, but not too big so as not to wake my internal tiny dancer who has momentarily hung up his dancing shoes and is catching some z's of his own.

6:30- I am awakened by Amelia calling, "Hahzo, Hahzo!" (Hazel) and the conversation that followed.

6:35- Hazel turns the light on in their room and I beg Hot Hubby to take the girl's down stairs and to let me sleep until 8. PLEASE!PLEASE!PLEASE! He was a generous and wise husband and he did. I woke up around 8:45 a semi-rested but very thankful wife.

So we enter night two. Both girls went down without any corrections. They are sound asleep and will hopefully stay that way until a decent time in the morning. Once again I'm choosing to refrain from being cocky. It served me well last night. My pride appreciates it, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Encouragement Towards Intentional Living

Apparently I'm not the only one purposing to be intentional this year. Check out these lovely posts that have encouraged me in my own journey the last few weeks:

Educator's Soliloquy
MCB and I were in a homeschool graduation ceremony together, attended the same church for awhile, and then worked in an office together. One of the things I've appreciated about her blog, her as a person, and this particular post is that though our lives so different from each other we share a common desire (and plenty of common interests). That common desire seems to make this huge world seem just a little smaller and cozier.

Inspired to Action
I've been following this blog since this last summer. I wrote about it here, here, and here. I was really enjoying my morning times and then I got pregnant. It was hard to get up early when I was in the throws of morning sickness. Now it's hard to get up early because I'm trying to grow a human and I need more sleep than I get. I still enjoy the encouragement I find in her posts though. The post linked above was a recent favorite.

Oh My Stinkin' Heck
I just realized lately that I don't actually follow OMSH. She is a guest post on the homeschool page of Pioneer Woman's blog. That's where I read her entries. I've admired the way she encourages the different personalities and interests in each of her children.

(I also secretly envy her homeschool room. I guess it's not a secret anymore. One day I will have a room as white and book shelf lined where everything has a proper place as she does. One day. Today is not that day.)

In the post linked above I kept coming back to the part about being all there. Being in the moment. The efficiency lover in me want to multi-task. The wife, mom, and woman in me needs to slow down and take in each moment.

This was evident even today when Abiah was reading out loud to me. I wondered what reading level the book he is going through (The Boxcar Children) would be considered so I got online to check it out. I missed a page and a half of what he was saying and he missed out on having my undivided attention.

Side note: Hazel has expresses a deep concern for these children that "have to get into the box." "Why, mom? Why do they have to get into the box?" Abiah is equally baffled but no so much concerned. He just doesn't understand what they are doing in a box. And how they all fit.
He also doesn't understand how Jackson eats while inside of me. And why does he have a cord coming out of his tummy? And what happens when they cut it off? And how do they even get him out of there? And why do babies belly buttons fall off after they are born? Does it hurt?

Anybody wanna take a stab at any one of those?

Crap. I didn't think so.
Side note over.

I have great plans for some detailed blogs about my move towards an intentional life. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


1. Hazel announced during a rather unusually calm dinner tonight that she would like a new mommy. She was unable to give a reason. If I was in the middle of correcting her I think I could understand her statement. I have no idea where it came from though. Surprisingly I didn't cry.

2. Amelia turned two today. I can't believe that two years has gone since I was holding her in my arms for the first time.

3. I had a migraine that started Friday night. It finally subsided Saturday mid-morning. Then I hit my head on the edge of my counter. My headache came back. I hit Hot Hubby when he came to see what had happened because I thought he laughed at me. He swears he didn't. Abiah heard it too. Which he then took as permission to laugh at along with his dad. I cried. I still have a sore spot on my head.

4. Lately when I am having insane moments with my kids (like correcting them for the same thing over and over or, all three of them are demanding something from me at the same time) I've been saying, "You guys are driving me crazy!" Part of me feels uber guilty. The other day I told Amelia to stop doing something and she turned to me and said, "Cazy me, Mom!" I admit, I laughed.

5. Of course #4 happened right after Amelia's birthday party. I think she was feeling like a spoiled princess. She told me "no'' about three times that night. She doesn't usually talk to me that way. Those are the times I was she was this small again.

Well, those times and the times when she doesn't want to hold still while I kiss and pinch her chunky cheeks. But then there are the times when she quotes lines from movies. Or talks to me mostly in child gibberish and completely thinks we are having a conversation. Or when she sings, "There once was a green little frog, frog, frog" except when she says frog it sounds like a really bad word. Or when she sings "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus." Or when she sings anything at all. Or when she crawls into my lap with a "Hi, momma!" for a few seconds just because she needed to be close to me for a little bit.

6. Man. If I'm having this much trouble with her turning two, what is going to be like when she is ready to move out?!?

7. Abiah announced to me and Hot Hubby that he is reading "Hole in Our Gospel" which is a book Hot Hubby and I are reading through in a discussion group with our church. The way he announced it was so every-day-nonchalant. It made me laugh. He keeps his place with a single square of toilet paper. I swear he is my dad in a 7 year old body.

8. Today when I let Abiah know I wasn't going to the food bank because my friend was busy he asked, "Why isn't she going? Is she not going because she was at the oochie koochie?" I cried, I was laughing so hard. He has NO idea what that means! He was just repeating a line from a song in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. My dad did something similar when he was a young kid. They are so much alike.

9. Tomorrow is three months from my due date. I'm trying not to focus on the date so much. I keep telling myself and others "the end of April." Seeing pictures of Amelia as a newborn makes me wish for the end of April to be here.

10. Seeing pictures of Amelia's newborn 14 inch head and 9lb 7oz body makes me wish Jackson will come early or on time. We don't want to go 10 days over this time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A New Kind of Color

The other night the kids were discussing their favorite colors for the nine billionth time. Abiah's favorites are and always have been blue and then red. Hazel has decided that her favorite color is pink and her second favorite changes depending on the day and sometime her mood.

Since Amelia is at a talking disadvantage the older two have tried to push the color purple on her. I keep reminding them that she is too little to make such a decision and "for heaven's sake, quit pushing that awful color on my daughter!" Or something like that.

When they asked Hot Hubby what his favorite color is he responded with, "I don't have a favorite color."

I immediately disagreed and assured the kids, "Daddy does have a favorite color. His favorite color is Mommy." Hot Hubby gave me a knowing glance.

I was surprised when no one argued that a person can't be a color. Especially Abiah. Captain Literal.

When Abiah asked if my favorite color was Daddy, Hot Hubby responded before I could even take a breath. "No. Daddy is like Mommy's 5th or 6th favorite color!"

I laughed and told him that he is probably more like my 3rd favorite color. Then I reminded the kids that my favorite color is yellow, then pink.

But Daddy is definitely my 3rd favorite color.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sickies, Liars and Biters. Oh My!

After sneezing Hazel informed me, "Achoo is means bergers come out."


I asked Hazel if she had a good nap and she told me, "Yes. I went honk shoo."


Hazel and Amelia were playing and Hazel ran into the room, threw herself down on a pile of blankets and exclaimed, "Father Abraham pushed me down!"


The girls have officially started lying. I was doing school in the kitchen with Abiah and heard Amelia start to cry. When I called the girls into the kitchen Amelia came crying saying, "Sissa do it! Sissa do it!" When Hazel came in I asked her what she had done to Amelia and with a straight face she replied, "I didn't do it. Abiah did."

While stifling laughter, I said, "Abiah was sitting here with me. What did you do to Amelia?"

Again she replied with a straight face, "No. He got out of his chair and went in there and hit Millie."


Another time Amelia took the cushion off of the couch and when I told her to put it back she said, "Daddy do it!"


Amelia bit Hazel on her hip. It was a doozy. A big purple bruise appeared right away. When Hazel had recovered from the pain she told me, "Mom, make sure Millie doesn't bite my hippo anymore!"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meatballs and a Veggie Spaghetti Recipe

This is a recipe my mom came up with for me when she was helping me prepare once-a-month meals about a two years ago. I don't know if she made it up or just had it in her head. It would totally be like her to make it up. She pretty much a culinary genius.

And as soon as she reads this I will officially be her favorite!

I use this recipe for spaghetti (Hot Hubby prefers it with meat balls instead of meat sauce. Wierdo.), sweet 'n sour meat balls, Swedish meatballs, meatball subs. The list is endless really. And it's making me hungry.

This is also a triple or quadruple recipe. I separate them into meal size portions and freeze them in gallon freezer bags. I usually shop once a month so I plan a few meatball recipes for the month and then I only have to make the meatballs once. Easy-peasy!


4 lbs of burger
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1&1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs ( used this egg replacer and it worked perfectly)
1&1/4 cups milk
1&1/2 cups bread crumbs (I use oatmeal. My mom always did when we were little. I think it's a Weight Watcher thing. It works though.)

Last week when I made this recipe it yielded about 156 1 inch meatballs.

Mix all the ingredients together (I use my KitchenAid mixer). Shape into 1 inch balls. Pampered Chef sells a 1 inch ice cream scoop that works wonders for this. Bake on a sprayed pan for 20 minutes at 350.

If you haven't yet, you should totally check out the sweet 'n sour recipe above. Here's my recipe for spaghetti:

Disclaimer: When I cook I don't measure a whole lot unless I'm following a specific recipe. I use the "ish" system. Use your own discretion and add what sounds good to you.

Also, I pre-cut most of my veggies and store them in the freezer in recipe size portions. This helps insure that my dinner preparations are simple and it also makes it easier to get veggies into our meals. If you have picky eaters chopped or shred the veggies into small pieces that they won't be able to see. As long as there isn't an allergy possibility I add it. Hot Hubby doesn't like zucchini and Abiah doesn't care for mushrooms but they eat them all the time. Most of the time they don't even know.

Veggie Filled Spaghetti Sauce

If you are using a meat other than the meatballs brown it in a separate pan and add later.

1 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbls butter

Heat the oils in a large skillet. When heated through add:

1 onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup (ish) of chopped mushrooms
1 zucchini chopped or shredded
1 cup of bell peppers sliced ( I get a combo pack of mini peppers from Costco and send them through the food processor. They freeze well for sauces and soups.)

When these start to brown I add 1 large can of tomato sauce (24 oz I think) and a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes. (This is also where I would add the browned burger. Add meatballs later.)

This is where I get my "ish" on. These portions are a guess but a great place to start.

2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
two or three dashes of salt
1 or 2 dashes of pepper
1 tsp of sugar ( I don't usually add more sugar unless I have a very bitter sauce.)
If you can handle the spice, add 1 tsp or so if crushed red peppers. Mmmmm...

Let all of these simmer together. If you are using meatballs, add them at this point and let them simmer in the sauce.

When your noodles are done cooking add about 1/2 a cup of the starchy water to the sauce and let it simmer a little longer.

You can serve this over your favorite noodles or serve it in hoagie rolls, add a piece of cheese to the top and broil in the oven until the cheese is melted for a yummy meatball sub.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bedtime Crazy

This is almost exactly what bedtime has been in our house lately:

In my case I hear:



"Make sure Millie doesn't get out of her bed and climb into mine and sleep with me."

"Okay. Amelia is asleep and can't climb out of her crib. Go to sleep. Goodnight!"



"Make sure no rats get into here and eat me."

"There are no rats in our house. You are okay and safe. Go to sleep. Goodnight!"
(Thankyouverymuch! Indian in the Cupboard movie!)



"Make sure Daddy doesn't sleep on the couch. He has to sleep in his bed."

"Okay. That's enough talking. Go. To. Sleep. Goodnight."



"I said that you and me and Millie and me and you and Abiah can have Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast tomorrow."

"I said goodnight. We will talk in the morning. GO! TO! SLEEP! NOW. Goodnight."


Prenatal Update: 25 Weeks

Yesterday I went in for my monthly appointment. This is the appointment that I dread the most. I had to do the blood glucose test which requires a blood draw and usually I would have received a rhogam shot since I'm Rh negative. Thankfully they wanted to wait until I am 28 weeks to give me the shot so I only had to suffer from one needle poke this time.

The rest of my appointment was pretty routine. Jackson's heart rate was perfect. My blood pressure is fine. Everything measures well. I've only gained about 5 pounds. And I go back in 3 weeks for my 28 week appointment!

It all sounds so ho-hum and boring. Which is exactly how this pregnancy was supposed to be! Well, not the boring part. I'm really excited to be pregnant and I can't wait to meet Jackson.

When I first started seeing my midwives, though, they told me that since I am an "experienced" mom I only had to come in every 5 weeks for appointments. That hasn't happened.

Around 12 weeks I started spotting and ended up having to go in a few times extra for them to make sure everything was okay. Which it was. It ended up being a normal pregnancy thing. The baby and I are fine.

Then at about 21 weeks I got rear-ended and ended up having to go in for an extra appointment to follow up after the accident. All of these appointments I've been glad to keep. I love knowing that Jackson is healthy.

I'm just disappointed because I was pretty stinkin' proud to be an "experienced" mom.

Pride. Oh! that nasty little vixen!

Other pregnancy updates would be:

  • When I asked Hazel who she thinks Jackson will look like she replied, "Ummmm, Africa!" Since I received so much flack for Amelia's blue eyes I'm starting to wonder what makes people doubt my loyalty to my marriage. Seriously! My mom's friends had a whole conversation about where Amelia's blue eyes came from. One of them suggested that maybe the mail man has blue eyes. Another rebutted with, "Hey! I've met him. He's a nice guy!" Now this! By the way, my mom and Hot Hubby's dad both have blue eyes. It runs in the family!
  • I could eat Burgerville every day! I am definitely carrying a man-child. My favorite meal of the day is dinner. Salty and hearty. Pasta is the best!
  • Jackson is earning mommy points already. He lets me drink coffee! When I was pregnant with the girls it was the last thing I wanted. With Jackson I didn't want it during the first trimester but now I want at least a cup a day.
  • I keep forgetting I'm pregnant. I don't feel very guilty because there is a lot going on around here. I just get shocked when I, say... park too close to the shopping cart return area and can't squeeze my tummy through the opening which normally would be plenty of room... Or when I look down and can't see my feet even if I lean forward... Or when I sit leaning forward for a long time and then when I sit back I get kicked multiple times from the baby who is glad to have a little more room finally.
  • Jackson moves a lot. My girls mostly moved just at night. They had bursts of major movement. Especially at this point in the pregnancy. Jackson moves all day. I'm hoping that rather than this being a sign that he'll be an extremely active child like his sisters, it will actually mean that he is a well balanced child. Like his dad. Take after your dad, Jackson! Someone needs to. And soon! Mommy needs a break from all the little busy people running all over the place! Oh that you will be an easy-peasy boy like your dad and brother!
Even though my next appointment is only three weeks away instead of the desired 5 weeks, I am glad that it means I'm that much closer to meeting this handsome little Prince.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beware of the Grooooove!

What is the groove? It is the rhythm in which I live my life!

If you ever have the opportunity to watch my mom, my sisters and me in the kitchen you might notice an odd habit we have. Since we are women and there is hardly a quiet moment when we are together we use signals to communicate with each other when we work together.

Our most common signal is the butt pat. It's more like a hip pat, really. In order not to interrupt the person talking we just pat each other on the butt/hip when we need someone to move.

It's a system that works well for us. The only time we have an awkward moment is when someone outside of the five of us works with us in the kitchen. Unless they've been inducted into the butt/hip patting ritual already. And so far everyone has seemed to understand this form of communication.

Everyone except my dad and my Hot Hubby.

For some reason unbeknown to God, man, and beast those two can't seem to get this down. Hot Hubby has only been exposed to this for a short time so he has a little excuse. My dad on the other hand has been dealing with this for almost 30 years! Well, really, my mom has been dealing with him on this issue for almost 30 years.

We have home videos from days long gone filled with bad hair, leggings under over-sized t-shirts, and multiple parties where my mom is trying to prepare something in the kitchen. As you watch my mom move my dad out of her way you can hear him ask, "Why are you pushing me?!?"

That's the question he stills asks. "Why are you pushing me?!?"

This is actually how I knew I was going to marry Nathan.

Let's go back to 2002-ish.

Nathan and I had known each other for a few years but had just recently started spending time together with a few other friends. I kind of had my eye on him but wasn't sure. I had no idea where he stood on our friendship/relationship.

I was at work. Hot Hubby, then Nathan, had stopped by to visit before heading to work himself. Since he used to go to the "homeschooling school" I worked for he felt he had alumni privileges and could hang out there whenever he wanted. Apparently. Not that I minded. (He's HOT!)

Anyways, I was making a ga-gillion copies of something in the copy room and he was in there talking with me. But he was forever in my way! Everywhere I needed to go, he was there. Though the woman in me appreciated the close quarters, the employee in me needed to get to work.

Since he didn't understand the arm tap (As much as I would have loved to, I decided that tapping his butt/hip would be slightly inappropriate. So I adjusted accordingly.) I kept having to move him out of my way. Finally he asked, "Why are you pushing me?!?"

My heart stopped for a brief second and I stood there staring at him, hoping my jaw wasn't really as close to the floor as it felt. I always knew I wanted to marry someone like my dad, but this was freaky! Once I regained control of my senses I explained the situation. (Not the marriage one. The "you're in my WAY!" one.)

It never stuck.

I am still asked by him multiple times a week, "Why are you pushing me?!?"

All this to say, as I've adjusted my daily schedule to his work schedule over the years and even more recently tried to be more purposeful of my day, there is always one uncertainty that I am certain will mess with my groove.

Hot Hubby standing in my way. Not in the sense that he won't allow me to do something.

He's physically IN.MY.WAY!

Take yesterday morning. I got up with the kids and was trying to get through our morning routine: get dressed, breakfast, help kids with chores, school...blah, blah, blah. As I'm trying to get breakfast on the table to feed the children who are about to burst the sound barrier asking for food I kept turning around right into Hot Hubby.

I need a bowl to mix eggs in. He's in front of that cupboard.

I need my frying pan. He's in front of that drawer.

I need the milk. He's in front of the fridge.

And he's happy as a lark and completely unaware that HE'S. IN. MY.WAY!

And he wants me to stop every time I run into him and give him a hug. He's so stinkin' cute that it's hard to be completely irritated with him. And he smells good.

Moving on!

Though I've talked to him about this many, many, many, MANY times, this morning I found the words that I think helped him: "Dude! You're messing with my groove!"

We'll see if that one takes!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Year of Purpose

I hate writing New Years resolutions. Every January I feel pressure to write something down but I know Myself. And Myself will forget about the long list of to-do's within a week.

By the next December Myself will remember that there was a list of things that she was supposed to do but forgot about. Then the guilt and sack cloth and ashes will have to come out of the Goodwill pile that Myself had been meaning to donate all year long.

I don't want to do that to Myself. She has enough to deal with.

But, Myself has also been heard complaining this last year about life just seeming to take over. The words purpose and intentional have slipped from her mouth many a time through-out 2010.

There have been tears of frustration. Days of depression. Weeks of trying to catch-up and "find a more efficient way." Myself likes efficiency. A lot! She wishes her home resembled that of the one in Cheaper By The Dozen. The book. Not the crappy movie.

So Myself has decided to make a list of things she wants to be more purposeful about. Which is kind of the same as resolutions, but because it's a different word she has tricked herself into thinking it's something completely different.

So I plan to share that list with you in the next few weeks. I say weeks because Myself is so tired from all the being purposeful that at the end of the day blogging is the thing that has to wait on the shelf. But the laundry is being done and food is being put on the table. And the children are more calm and obedient because they have a mommy who is spending more time with them than with Lola, the pink computer.

That's not me, by the way. Just making sure you're awake. And wanting to show off my Hot Hubby...using a pink computer.

I love this picture!

I did let Myself make one resolution for this year. And she's not afraid to call it that!

I resolve to lose 20 pounds by mid May.

How do I plan to do this? By having a baby! Remember, Jackson is due at the end of April. I figure that gives me a few weeks to shed the normal 20 lb baby weight. I'll FINALLY meet a New Years resolution and I'll have a cute baby to boot!

I know. You think I'm a genius. I'm not. Well, not certified. I did go to college for two terms though!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Right before Christmas I posted on Facebook that I made a Cajun chicken fettuccine dish for dinner. Instead of comments about the cream/carb combo and how bad it is for a person, I got requests for the recipe. My dear Aunt went as far as to suggest that I create a weekly menu and post it here for you all to use.

I wish that I was that organized!

Though I have been trying to do that for myself, posting my weekly menu here would mean posting all the recipes. I would love to do that too! But the time! I just don't have it right now. So I will post recipes when I can and hopefully you all can use one or two of them.

Tonight's recipe came from a different Facebook conversation.

A friend mentioned needing some crockpot recipes. I left her a link to a recipe I posted here about a year ago and she left this recipe for me:

Mexican Chicken

Place 8-10 frozen chicken tenders in the crockpot. Rinse a can of black beans and add to the crockpot. Add frozen corn or a can of corn drained. Pour a jar of your favorite salsa over the top and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours. 20-30 minutes before serving add a package of cream cheese and stir it in. Serve over rice!

How easy-peasy is that?!?

I made this tonight and it was fantastic. I actually got bored between 4:30 and 5. Usually I am running around trying to finish dinner so we can eat by 6 and I had nothing to do! Besides laundry, dishes, and more laundry.

Since I used rice we had left over from a meal a few days ago there was just enough for our dinner tonight. I took the rest of the Mexican Chicken, added a can of olives and made a make-shift enchilada topped with a can of El Pato tomato sauce, cheese and olives. That little left over gem is in the freezer for a quick meal next week!

There are so many variations or ingredients you could add to this. I almost added shredded zucchini but I wanted to try the recipe as it was written first. You could also add the cooked rice to the pot and serve it in tortillas or pour it over chips.

It was definitely easy and we will be making this again. Soon!

What was for dinner at your house?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It used to be a joke between the two of us.

I would find a long brown hair on his shoulder or tangled in his beard. In a shocked voice I would ask, "Who's hair is this and how did it get here?!?"

He would look at me with those eyes that say, "Woman, you're crazy. And I'm crazy about you!"

Then he would chased me around the house, wrap me in his arms and remind me how that hair got there.

Now I don't just find long brown hair. Sometimes it's brown and curly. Or short and blond.

I pick the hair out of his beard or off of his shoulder and ask in a surprised tone, "Who's hair is this and how did it get here?!?"

He looks up at me over two heads.

One full of unruly, brown curls.

The other covered in disheveled, short blond locks.

His eyes say, "Woman, you're crazy. And I am crazy about you!"

And he mentions that when he gets a free minute from those other two he'd like to chase me around the house, wrap me in his arms and remind me how they got here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Low-Fat Cell Phone

I'm sure you've all seen commercials like this one:


Because it's totally the phone's fault that we spend more of our time looking at it then talking with the people we are with?

Isn't that like saying it's all the food's fault that we get fat? It's definitely not the fact that we ate more than we should! So let's remove the fat/carbs/sugar from the food and that will fix it!

Sorry. I tend to be on the "it's more about self-discipline" side of these things.

And for those of you who don't know me, I'm not a Twiggy look-a-like who has never weighed over 120. I have to purpose every day to be disciplined when it comes to eating.

Can't we just be honest with ourselves and admit that we lack some serious self-control?

It's your phone/email/facebook. You don't have to answer it or check it. You can choose to ignore it for awhile.


Stepping off my soapbox now...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Gift Dilemma

Last year for Christmas Hot Hubby gave me a gift card to Barnes & Noble (B&N) and one for Starbucks and sent me on a day out by myself to browse the books while sipping on my favorite latte. To me it's one of the best gifts he could give me. To him it's one of the gifts that I ask for that he understands the least.

You see, while I love to read and write, Hot Hubby despises it. It takes him a sweet forever to get through the first few chapters of a book and then he puts it down for a year or so and never picks it up again. I, on the other hand, can read a novel in one day if I'm allowed (meaning no one demanding my presence for their every whim and desire).

What Hot Hubby didn't plan for was me coming home armed with a book for both of us to read! I had heard about The Five Love Languages for years and after boycotting it for awhile I decided to give it a try.

I sat in B&N and flipped through the book, trying not to read too much so that I could read it with Hot Hubby and not feel the need to speed ahead. When I brought it home I could tell that he was beyond elated.

Or maybe he was the complete opposite. His response wasn't a surprise though. I knew it would take time to convince him to read through the book.

At first all I asked was that he take the test at the end of the book. Simple. Not too demanding. He agreed and we had a lot of fun giving each other the test.

We weren't shocked by the answers. Now we just had words for the differences in each other that we'd been trying to get used to.

His primary Love Language (LL) is physical touch. He scored 10 out of 12. No surprise. You don't get pregnant 5 times in 5 years being married to a man who doesn't like to touch you.

However, physical touch is my lowest LL. I scored 1 out of 12. That explains soooooo much!

Though my primary LL is the same as Hot Hubby's 2nd LL (Quality Time) it means something very different to both of us. He likes quality time with intense snuggling (I won't expound. I promise!). To me quality time involves eye contact and maybe a little hand holding. Talking, visiting, and just being together. Also my 2nd and 3rd LL's just happen to be Hot Hubby's two lowest. Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts.

Knowing this you'd think that we have a hard time getting along. Really we don't. We are the best of friends. We just tend to have the same disagreement over and over about what we need from each other.

Anyways, after taking the test and finding this out about each other, Hot Hubby had the idea that the best way to work through this was to convince me that his primary LL is the best of the five. He's spent the better part of the last year trying to convert me. He didn't want to read the book. He had it figured out.

It didn't work. Shocking!

Finally about mid October I decided I would just read through the book by myself and put to practice what I learned and see how it worked.

I also decided that I would take all of Hot Hubby's hunting magazines out of the bathroom and leave this book as the only reading option. Well, minus the Highlights magazine. It didn't take long for him to find out what I had done and he knew right away why I did it.

Every time I would notice him "loving me MY way", as I call it, I would ask if he'd been reading the book. Each time he would laugh at me and then then then tell me that he hadn't. I think he began to see that it was really important to me though.

About two weeks ago he thanked me for making lunch and breakfast. This may not seem like such a big deal except that Hot Hubby is NOT a words person. It's not unusual for someone to ask him a question and for him to just stand there and stare at them. He doesn't mean to be rude and he's not upset. He just doesn't have an answer so he doesn't. Believe me. I have tried so many times to help him understand that it is okay to just respond with an "I don't know" or a "Let me think about that."

He's working on it. Sloooowly, because that's how we roll. Apparently.

So when he thanked me for making breakfast and lunch it caught my attention. When I asked him about it a few days later he told me he had been reading THE BOOK. And he was on CHAPTER 4 already! The last few weeks I've been amazed by his gestures at loving me "my way."

So, for Christmas, knowing that gift buying is NOT on of his strong points, I gave him the list of gift ideas he had asked me for. In the last few years it has bugged me that he waits until the last few days before Christmas to go shopping for me. This year I knew to give him the space. At least he's trying, right?

He did a great job. He even tried to think outside of the list I gave him. I'd give the details but it's a little too TMI for my blog. :) I made me giggle though. He's so cute.

One of the things I asked for was a Fiestaware salt and pepper set. IN SUNFLOWER! I made it easier for him by emailing him a link to their website and showing him the exact set (in the exact color) when we were in Kohl's one day.

Chirstmas Eve morning when we opened our gifts with our kids I unwrapped a new light yellow Fiestaware salt and pepper set. I filled them up and have enjoyed using them every day since.

The other day when I was throwing boxes and paper into the fire place I happened to look at the box from the salt and pepper set and saw that the set is actually Ivory. Not sunflower! I went ahead and burned the box thinking that since I've already been using them I couldn't return them for the right color.

Also, I didn't want to tell Hot Hubby. He's trying so hard and I don't want to discourage him!

But now I'm wondering if I could have and still could take them back. I'm sure that Hot Hubby will understand.

What do I do?!? Have you ever been in this place before? What would/did you do?

(The Amazon link is for convenience. I make no money if you purchase the book.)