Sunday, May 30, 2010

Who Needs Sand?

we picked up a sandbox for Rowen this weekend with a big coupon at
Toys R Us. Kind of a splurge, but hoping it'll be hours of entertainment
throughout the summer while Momma's busy feeding baby sister. We
haven't picked up any sand yet, we're hoping to shop around and find the
best price. But while Daddy was putting together his new grill, we filled
the sandbox with his plastic balls for a little fun! He was sitting on the
edge and accidentally fell in backwards- which he thought was hilarious.
He then continued to try and throw himself backward and "splash" in the
balls. What a goofball!

Daddy's New Grill

Guess what Matt got for an early Father's Day/Birthday present??

I had this sneaky plan of getting help from family and pooling together birthday funds to get Matt the BBQ he's been dreaming of. I was going to have it magically appear on our back porch on Father's Day morning. Of course, with the baby coming next weekend, I decided that letting him go get it a little early was worth loosing the surprise factor. I don't think he minded.

I think he was proud of all my research efforts, and said that the grill I picked out was exactly what he would have picked if he knew we had the money (thank you, thank you, everyone who contributed!) He also said he was happy that he got to put it together himself. Pretty much, all around happiness.

Rowen was a big helper of course.

ta daa!

not long after bringing home the box, we had dinner on the table. He was practically giddy with how quickly it heated up and dinner was done. Love him!

Friday, May 28, 2010

What's Rowen been up to?

Swim class with Mrs. Duppenthaler and baby Adler!  
Oh man, Rowen LOVES the water.  The first week and a half we had major meltdowns upon LEAVING the pool.  He wasn't done when class was over!  However, Momma figured out a fruit-leather bribe was just the ticket to get him out happily.  Hey, whatever works. :)

mmm.... chocolate chip waffles by Daddy.....

and.... quiet times with Daddy.  (how cute is that? yup that's his bible.)

sitting on the peanut butter jar.  ?? Don't ask me, crazy kid.
Oh yes, and he's playing with an empty Tums bottle.  Loves it.  Things with lids... whatever!

8 Months

39.75" 121#

It's crunch time, baby. We had an ultrasound yesterday morning and buttercup is looking great. She's 5 pounds, all her measurements are fantastic, and she's a lot warmer than the rest of us. What's with this weather, anyway??
Well, I talked to my OB today and we went over the ultrasound results, she's really pleased with everything, except that I still have a complete placenta previa. Oh yeah, baby. That sucker isn't budging. So... we go in Friday for an amniocentesis to check on her lung development, and schedule the c-section for that weekend. Nothing on the books yet, sill waiting for a phone call from perinatology to set up the appointments. But that's the general idea. Next weekend.
Crazy, right?
But we're excited to meet her, nonetheless! Break out the preemie clothes- she's gonna be a teeny one! Your prayers for a healthy baby and safe delivery are appreciated of course- no complications and no time in the NICU for her or the ICU for me. That would be fantastic :) We have complete trust in the Lord for all of this and know we'll be well taken care of, regardless! He is good!

The Progress:
pre-pregnancy: 105#
One Month: 100#
Two Months: 101#
Three Months: 102# 29"
Four Months: 107# 34"
Five Months: 111# 36"
Six Months: 115# 37.5"
Seven Months: 120# 38.5"
Eight Months: 121# 39.75"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A couple fun videos for you

Rowen woke up from nap and heard Matt mowing the lawn. He immediately squished himself between the couch and the front window to watch his daddy.

While eating lunch, Rowen pointed to my spaghetti and said "Mommas" which, is pretty standard these days. He's very into labeling things. Then he pointed to his bowl and said "ro ro" which I haven't heard him do a lot of! As you can see, he's very proud that he can say his own name and wanted to share a video with Daddy! Ah, I love him. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Freezer Cooking Day

...*cough cough*.... freezer cooking week, more like it. :) (isn't my stash beautiful!?? Yes, that is my dining room table. Packed full of food. The two baskets in back are full of quart-sized bags, the two in front are full of sandwich-sized bags. The sandwich-bags on the right are entirely chicken stock.) I forgot to include my pizza doughs, and my diced roasted turkey. (one cup portions packed in sandwich bags.) Oops. :)

So, I think devoting a whole day for your freezer cooking is a great idea. Though, I wasn't prepared to pawn off my toddler or to stand for that long in the kitchen. So instead, I did a little bit each day, trying my best to clump things together in an orderly fashion. For example, I did everything I needed to with the food processor in one day, (so I'd only have to truly wash it once) even if it meant having a bag full of stinky chopped onion in my fridge all week for various recipes. (peeeww!) :) Rowen really enjoyed helping me with the food processor- he'd put the carrots in and then push the button "on," and then "off." The onions were quite funny, actually. His poor little eyes were streaming tears as he was squealing with glee at making the processor work. Ah, boys and machinery.

I also modified my list considerably as I went. Due to freezer space (holy cow, I have so much food from costco at the moment!) I nixed all the baked goods from my list. I may do them later, I may not. Also due to space, I didn't do any of the rice I thought I'd do. (planned on some fried rice meals, spanish rice side dishes, etc.) Again, I may add these items later in the month as I go through the box of Marie Calendar pot pies, the giant bag of chicken breasts, etc. I also realized that as I doubled recipes, dividing many of them into three meals was more appropriate for our small family so we'd have left overs. When I planned my list, I just thought in my head that I'd make about two meals of each. But then when it came around to cooking, it was just as easy to double recipes (if I had the ingredients) and then have three meals w/ left overs instead of just two.
So, in a way, I ended up with less than I planned, and in another, I ended up with more. Things to learn and grow from as I go. :)

All in all, I have most of the pieces for 54 meals!! Some are lunches and two are breakfasts, and all will need minimal cooking/prep in order to enjoy. Most will be ready by heating in the microwave and then adding to cooked rice or pasta or quinoa etc. Some will need to be stir-fried, BBQ'd, or baked. (only the quiches and the enchiladas.) Well technically, I could microwave the enchiladas. But that would be wrong. I cannot attest to the deliciousness of any of these meals, as this is my first time freezing them. Maybe if I have time I'll update you throughout the Summer. :) Also, I've linked many of the recipes, but of course I usually don't make a recipe exactly as written. So if you're interested in my version, or any of the recipes that I don't have linked, leave a comment and let me know. I'd be happy to share. :)

Okay, well, without further ado, here's my list, including what they'll need for completion:
*well, it's mid-July, and we've only begun to dive into these meals! Thanks to the many blessings of friends, family, and even complete strangers from church :) I thought to myself that it would be a good idea to write down my notes on how these meals turned out as we use them, so I will know for the future if I decide to make them again, or so you, my dear reader, can decide if any of these sound like freezer meals YOU might like to make! So, I will edit in my notes in orange as we go in the next month or so.
**it is now November. Just about everything is gone. (can you believe I still have a thing or two lurking around since May?) just now getting to updating this. I'm a tad slow on the blogging business with two kiddos. Sorry :)

Turkey Burgers (two meals)
saute'd mushrooms & caramelized onions *forgot about these both times we made the turkey burgers, darn it. **finally used them for things other than burgers, SO good!
coleslaw (add ramen when thawed) *i thawed two of these at once for a crowd. Half liked it, I was in the half that hated it. Yuck-o. And it was really good coleslaw when it was fresh.
already had frozen patties
need to buy or make: buns *first time thawing and baking: kinda small. Perhaps not enough rise time? But yummy. **small every time. But they worked.
pantry: baked beans, pickles, condiments
grocery list: lettuce, tomato, cheese

Pesto Pasta with Diced Turkey (three meals) **yu-um
diced roasted turkey
pesto sauce **it's really a crying shame I didn't have more of this.
pantry: 1/2# portioned pasta each
grocery list: corn on the cob

marinated chicken breasts for BBQ *easy and delish
chicken stock
pantry: quinoa
grocery list: broccoli or artichokes

Jalapeno Chicken Salad (four meals)
Chicken Salad Mix *so easy to thaw, and tasted just like fresh! yahoo! one of my favorite summertime lunches.
Flour Tortillas
pantry: oil
grocery/garden: cilantro

Butternut Squash Risotto (one meal) **not as good as fresh. I think squash might need to be cooked before freezing.
butternut squash cubed, seeds & strings reserved
chicken stock
pantry: arborio, vermouth

marinated raw steaks for BBQ **no complaints here :)
grocery list: potatoes, sour cream, butter, asparagus

burritos *always a hit
grocery list: sour cream, avocado

Straccetti (three meals) *delish! Bummer to wash a heavy pan, a pot from pasta, the cutting board from the tomato, and a pot from steaming the green beans, but still easier than cooking the whole meal start to finish.
sliced and marinated raw steak
sauteed mushroom & onion
shredded asiago cheese
pantry: portioned 1/2# (ea) fettucini, vermouth
grocery list: green beans, tomato

Pesto Pasta Salad (two meals) *very happy to say this came out just like fresh! boil noodles, toss, and enjoy. yes!
salad pesto
toasted pine nuts
pantry: 1/2# (ea) portioned bow-tie pasta
grocery/garden: 1/2 pint (ea) cherry tomatoes

Thai Chili Beef (two meals) *super happy with how this one turned out too. A little spicier than I expected, which I don't know if it was from the "wait" time, or if they happened to be extra spicy jalapenos. Nervous about the frozen raw peppers and onions, but I couldn't detect anything once it was cooked and in my mouth! Wok and rice cooker to clean, cutting board from chopping herbs.
sliced marinated raw steak
prepped raw veggies
chopped peanuts
pantry: white rice
grocery/garden: cilantro, mint, lime

Chicken Enchiladas (one meal) *I've frozen this one before. Yum. The spanish rice turned out well too.
pantry: salad dressing
grocery: salad etc, avocado

French Dips (three meals) **these turned out great! Actually, I confess, the third batch is one of the things I still have in the freezer. Due to laziness of not wanting to make hoagies, or not having swiss cheese. One of these days...
sliced roast beef
creamy peas with tarragon
need to buy or make: hoagies
pantry: au jus
grocery: swiss cheese

Pasta with Beet Greens (three meals) *I was surprised at how yummy this one came out. And how easy. It tasted just like I had made it start to finish right then, and it was as easy as a "box" meal. Boil noodles, drain, heat up baggie contents in the noodle pot, add back the noodles once hot, stir in nut & cheese baggie- serve. barely any work or clean up. Loved it.
prepared beet green/sauce mixture
toasted pine nuts & parmesan
pantry: 1/2# portioned penne pasta each

Pulled Pork Sandwiches (three meals) *froze great! Defrosted quickly.
pulled pork in sauce
need to buy or make: hoagies or rolls
grocery: broccoli

BBQ Chicken (two meals)
marinated raw chicken for BBQ **I didn't like that I had chicken in sauce taking up space, but it cooked well so no biggy. Just kinda bulk. I could have frozen the sauce seperately, but I guess it was nice to just grab one bag and not thaw a bag of sauce, and then add chicken that I'd hope to have.
to buy or make: biscuits
grocery: corn on the cob

BBQ Chicken Pizza (two meals) **oh, yeah. This stuff is goooooood
shredded mozzerella
pizza dough
(use left-over BBQ'd chx)
grocery/garden: cilantro, red onion, salad etc.

Quiche in a Bag (two meals)
one with ham, cheddar, broccoli & peppers
one with spinach, swiss, & mushroom *somewhat disappointed. Thought it would be yummy to cook the defrosted egg mixture in a frozen pie crust- turned out soggy and there was too much egg mixture for the crust anyway, so I may not have had enough of all the right ingredients in the pan. (since there were some left in the bag.) I'll try the ham and cheese one in an 8x8 pan and we'll see. **slightly better, but still "eh"

Rice Pilaf w/ Turkey & Broccoli (two meals) **good
portioned roasted turkey
chicken stock
still need to make: lightly cooked broccoli
pantry: portioned rice/pasta mix

Sloppy Joes (two meals) **ack! These were TERRIBLE! i threw out the second batch. It tasted like FISH!! (I love fish. But your beef should never, EVER taste like fish. Ew.)
sloppy joe beef
need to buy or make: buns, mac salad
pantry: dressing
grocery: salad etc

Chicken Tacos (three meals) **the only part I made of these were the black beans, which were yummy and froze great. We didn't make tacos all summer. We ate the beans with another dish, and Matt enjoyed the left overs in a breakfast burrito!
small flour tortillas
still need to make: seasoned sauteed chicken, shredded cheese
pantry: salsa
grocery: salad etc

Delicious Black Bean Burritos (two meals) *it's true: delicious. Making these again asap. I added a can of diced tomatoes with chilis this time, and wont make it again without them.
pantry: salsa

Taco Salad (two meals) **just like taco salad
cooked & seasoned kidney bean/meat/olive mixture
shredded cheese
need to make: spanish rice
pantry: tortilla chips, olives, homemade ranch dressing mix
grocery: salad etc

Mother's Day 2010

I am so blessed to be Rowen's Momma!

Matt earned major husband points this year with my mother's day gift- he took Rowen to paint this little flower pot with handprints. How sweet is that? I love my guys :) :)
He also treated me to Noah's and Starbucks for breakfast (mmmmm.. noahs.......), we had an amazing church service as usual, went to brunch with his family at his Grandma's retirement home, headed home for Rowen's nap, and then to my parents for a beautiful walk and out to dinner. It was such a great day! It was a beautiful weekend all together, actually. Saturday was the first farmer's market and I was giddy with all the sunshine! It was SO great to walk to the market again, and stroll around for so long- last year it was a much shorter trip since Rowen was on two naps, but this year we'll get to take our time, play at the park, stop at the library, whatever :) We may even get to stay for lunch a time or two! The market food always smells so fabulous... anyway, it was a great weekend and I feel so blessed to call myself wife and mother to my two amazing guys. :) Happy Mother's day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My sweet Ro Ro

Last night bible study went a little late, so as soon as it was over I (along with 100 other parents) rushed back to the kid's wing to get my sleepy son. I waited in line, seeing all the sweet little 1-year-olds peering over the fence, many looking rather weary and worrisome. When I spotted my son, he was holding the hand of one of the sweet volunteers and she flagged me into the classroom. She just had to tell me that he was "a delight."

Now doesn't that just melt a Momma's heart??

I. love. him. I am so blessed to have such a sweet tempered, obedient, joyful little boy. Thank you, Jesus, for my precious son.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

meal-time ramblings

May Resolutions

Happy New Month!!
(i know, just doesn't have the same ring as happy new year... but, I'm going to keep trying.)

The Recap:
January - read through the bible in a year. Still on track, and ever so blessed :)
February - envelope system. Not so hot this month. I have a thing for grocery shopping, what can I say? And Matt desperately needed some new clothes for work. And we ate out a bit more than we should have. May will be better.
March - watch internet time. with all our outdoor time, this was totally not an issue this month. I do want to try to not crack open the lap-top until after my quiet time, though. First things first.
April - walk whenever possible. You would be so proud of me! I didn't get out every single day I could have, but almost. And several days I walked four or five miles total. Rowen LOVED it. He's a stroller kid. I walked to the store/bank/wherever at times I would have driven before, and I know I'm better for it. Definitely keeping this resolution up as long as Little Miss will let me.

May - stockpile the freezer. OAMC style. I know this probably isn't a "resolution" as much as a particular goal for this particular month, but maybe I'll love the "once-a-month-cooking" so much I'll keep up with it? I've fallen in love with my meal planning system- I've been rockin' it for about a year now. I think it would adjust really easy to OAMC if it works for me. I've been wanting to try it for months, but have shied away for one reason or another. No more, baby. The cheese is already shredded. Monday I'm going to hit the grocery store with my mega list, and then depending on how the day goes, either Monday or Tuesday are going to be spent entirely in the kitchen. Here's the catch for this cooking marathon: it's for when Little Miss gets here. It was my favorite thing I did to prepare for Rowen, to have a freezer packed with meals at the ready. However, he was born in October so the freezer was stocked with soups and casseroles and such. Easy. Not so yummy sounding for July & August. But, I've got a plan for "partially" cooked meals or meal fragments so to speak, and we're going to bust it out and see just how much easier it makes life, and if it's worth the hard work! *fingers crossed!*