Friday, September 28, 2012

8 Week Baby Bump

Dan thinks I'm crazy but it's there, really. Before getting preggers, I had a fairly flat stomach. All of my clothes are too tight already. Kid #3 and almost 35 years old. I guess that will make this pregnancy very different from the others.

One thing that is different from my previous pregnancies is that I am working out. I wasn't into working out when I had either of the boys. I could easily use this as an excuse to stop exercising but instead, I'm going to keep at it and hopefully gain minimal weight. I'm sure that it'll be harder to lose after giving birth this time around so the less I can gain, the better.

I need to work on my eating, though, that's for sure. I've really gotten away from healthy eating in the last year and a half. I don't do too bad but there's also plenty of room for improvement. And what better time than while pregnant?

So, continuing to work out and making improvements in my eating. This is what I'm working on :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

One of our favorite dinners around here is Enchilada Casserole. (To go to Kraft's website to view and print the recipe, click here.)

The only down side is I have to pick out the black beans for Connor. The plus sides far outweigh that, though, so until he delvelops a taste for black beans, which I hope he does, I'll continue to pick away!

Aside from being an absolutely delicious dish, it's also easy to freeze.

You know how when someone just had a baby or surgery, etc. and people bring them dinners? Well, a LOT of times it's pasta- because that's easy to make, transport, and reheats well. I like to take this Enchilada Casserole. I make up a double batch, one for us to eat that night (might as well!) then one to take to the family in need. I include baking directions as well as freezing directions, in case they have so much food coming in, they'd like to save something for later.

Another bonus is it's versatile. You can play with the recipe a little. I omit the sour cream. And, as you can see from this picture, I substituted a couple of ingredients. I don't buy taco seasoning so instead, I used 1 tablespoon Fiesta Party Dip Mix from Tastefully Simple and 1 tablespoon ground cumin. Also, the only reason I ever have Italian Dressing in the house is for this recipe but... for some reason, I went to make dinner this day and discovered I didn't. So, I opened my fridge to see what I had that somewhat resembled Italian Dressing and came up with 29-Minute Citrus Marinade, also from Tastefully Simple.

One more thing: do you know how difficult it is to cover the surface of a rectangular pan with round tortillas? Yes, you can just throw them in the pan and call it good enough but for those who may be a little OCD like myself, here is what I do: I cut the tortillas in half with my kitchen shears and put the straight edges around the outside of the pan then fill in the middle with a whole tortilla. Like this:

My OCD self also just realized "Pyrex" is upside down but apparently I'm not OCD enough to redo it :)

And voila! The yummiest dinner in under an hour. It's really very easy and oh so good to eat!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Two Steps to a Clean(er) Bedroom

My husband says making the bed is futile.

I think it is one of just two simple steps that make a bedroom look so much cleaner!

Make the bed. Close the closet door.

It's absolutely amazing the difference it makes. And, I suppose you could say that isn't a fair comparison because my room is mostly clean anyway so I did it on my youngest son's room also, just so you could see... it really does make a difference! (Part of making the bed is putting the stuffed animals on it which helped immensely with the floor!)

And with a little more picking up, and a quick run of the vacuum, voila!
(Just so you don't think we live like pigs.)

Oh, and funny story- he was (supposedly) cleaning his room the other day when I hear him exclaim "but it's just too hard for me to do by myself, I just keep playing!" I had to laugh. Love that kid!!!

Do you make your bed every day? Do your kids?

Monday, September 10, 2012


Phew! I had a rough weekend. The boys are at their dad's and sometimes I do okay with that, other times not so much. This weekend was one of the not so much times. I was kind of missing the boys all day on Saturday and then Saturday night, after Dan & I got done watching The Hunger Games, I caught a glimpse of Connor's blanket on the couch. This blanket was made by my grandma for Aidan when he was born but he never really took any interest in it. Connor, however, has loved it since day one and has aptly named it "Sucky" because he sucks on it to soothe himself.

I started thinking about how he sleeps with it every night and it would start smelling really funky from him sucking on it. Or used to anyway. You see, not too long after we started dividing up parenting time, Connor's dad forgot to send Sucky back to my house with Connor. At that time, Connor absolutely would not go to sleep without Sucky so his dad had to bring it to me, which he did not at all appreciate. Well, from that point on, Sucky just stayed at my house and Connor's other grandma made him another blanket for at his dad's.

Then I realized that Connor isn't near as attached to Sucky as he used to be and I started to feel really bad. Sucky has always been the thing he needed to go to sleep at night, the thing he cuddled with when he was feeling down or got hurt. And now, because I left his dad, because he goes almost half of the time without Sucky, Connor has lost his soother and here Sucky sits. Alone.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Recipe I Loved (but my kids did not)

As part of my time in the kitchen on Tuesdays, I want to make a homemade healthy snack each week. I'd like this to be something that will last a few days and/or something that I can freeze and take out a few at a time.

This week, I made Chocolate Cranberry & Oat Bars which I LOVED and promised to post the recipe. My kids were less than enthusiastic about them, however, so that kind of took the wind out of my sails. BUT, the neighbor kids seemed to like them so I passed the recipe on to their mom and figured I might as well share it here, too, because perhaps your kids will like them as well (click on the link above to go to the Kraft website where the recipe is.)

These smell so yummy coming out of the oven and they're wonderful to eat, too! If you try the recipe, I'd love to hear what you (and your kids!) thought about them!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Three Meals Fast!

I had this genious idea last week and it worked out so well, I have to share!

It started one night when we wanted to grill steak for dinner. We took some out of the freezer but there was way too much there for just the two of us. Then I had a bright idea- we would grill it all up then use the leftovers to make fajitas later in the week. To go along with the steak the first night, I made rotini noodles with Santa Fe Cooking Creme from Kraft. I used a whole box of noodles and one container of creme.
Oh! So much pasta left over! What shall I do with it? The next night, I took the leftover pasta and added a little milk, sour cream, and shredded cheese to saucy it back up. Then I added some cubed cooked chicken and steamed broccoli to go with it.

Finally, back to the fajitas. I sauteed half of each: red pepper, orange pepper, yellow pepper, onion then added some lime juice and the sliced steak. We ate these on tortillas with this delicious fresh homemade avocado salsa which I got from Nikki over at Chef in Training. Yum!

So, to sum it up:
Night 1: Steak with Santa Fe Pasta and Vegetable of Choice
Night 2: Chicken Santa Fe Pasta and Vegetable of Choice
Night 3: Fajitas with Avocado Salsa

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School 2012

I'm not one to get sentimental and cry on the first day of school, even when my youngest is starting Kindergarten and both boys are now in school all day every day, as was the case today. I was, however, bummed because Connor wanted me to come into his classroom with him and they asked all the parents to not come in. Here's a picture of his sweet smile while he was standing in line which I'm almost certain didn't last 30 seconds after he got inside and realized I wasn't coming with him.

So now what? Now that summer is over and my kids are both in school all day every day, whatever in the world am I going to do with myself? I've been pondering this for weeks and I have come up with what I think is a pretty good idea of how I want things to look. Here are just a few key points without  boring you to death:

- Breakfast at the table in the mornings, as opposed to previous years where they just got ready while I got ready and they ate breakfast in front of the tv. We managed to do this this morning. I loved spending the time with them and covering them in prayer to start the day!

- Do my prayer/ devotional time, blogging, housework, and work before going to the gym. The gym will be in the afternoon, as a reward for getting my other things accomplished. Otherwise, I would go to the gym in the morning and then dink around the rest of the day. Yup, I'm a dinker, believe it or not.

- Daily household tasks. My list looks something like this:
   Monday- bedrooms & laundry
   Tuesday- kitchen & dining room
   Wednesday- errands & groceries
   Thursday- bathrooms
   Friday- yard work (in warmer months) or project (winter)

Of course I've told both of the boys' teachers that I'm available to help out whenever they need it and I'm one of two room moms for Aidan's class so this could all change or go totally in the toilet!

As far as work goes, I will be doing some things to help Dan with his businesses and maybe doing some work for one of the companies that Dan does some work for. He's also a dinker but at least his dinking around makes money :)

I think it's going to be a great year and I'll be plenty busy without working outside the home and as long as I don't dink around too much, it should be just fine. So I guess #1 goal is no dinking around! We'll have to see how this goes... What are your plans for the year? What improvements or changes would you like to implement?

Must include the cool new shoes in the pic!