Y’all Hungry?! 4 hours and 34 meals later…

y'all hungry buttonI don’t know about your households, but in ours…. nothing kills a good mood like “what’s for dinner?” We go through this daily and it always leads to some sort of taco dish or a rummaged up pantry meal or more likely, we go out to eat. This is bad on so many levels, but mainly because we are spending WAY too much money eating out and are making even worse decisions (can I say chicken queso burrito within walking distance) YIKES!

Well, a couple of weeks ago when we were getting organized, running through our “to do” list, and budget issues I realized I had to figure something out that was easy and inexpensive and would last long term!

Admittedly, I like to have dinner ready for my Mr. when he comes home M-Thursday and also Sunday- We like to do something different and fun Friday & Saturday. The little nugget makes this difficult some days which is where meals became a stressor!

HELLO PINTEREST!!!!! I searched for easy, inexpensive Crockpot freezer meals and I came across several blogs that listed out different meals that are easy to prepare and then freeze, then pop in the Crockpot. It just sounded DREAMY to me! As usual I jumped in headfirst, I downloaded her grocery list and doubled it (math is not my strong suit….) and then loaded up the nugget and we headed off to the store.

Grocery List: I ended up with a couple of extra sweet potatoes (like 6, whoops) and 4 extra onions- but I figure I can do something with those!

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ADD: 1 lb maple sausage & 1 lb hot sausage 🙂

After 40 minutes and what looked like a crazy person buying out the canned beans and tomatoes and 1 million onions…. we checked out. I had purchased enough food to create 34 meals that each consist of 4-6 servings (or two dinners and one lunch for both of us) and my bill was $213- $100 of that in meat alone.
The lady checking me out exclaimed that I must have a huge family (I HATE when people comment on my purchases) and I was like ummmmm, nope, just my husband the baby and me…. we really like to eat.

Anyways…. we made it home and I unloaded everything while watching Maddy chase Betty Lou around the yard.

Later that night after we got Maddy down for bed, I got busy!

Here is my prep list:
Chop vegetables (thank you food processor), brown sausage, open cans, get out spices and label freezer bags with recipe name, date, cook instructions and any other notes such as add chicken broth– I also wrote THAW first huge on each bag in case the Mr. is in charge of cooking one night!

Then I started assembling! It took almost 2 hours to the dot to prep and another 2 hours to assemble. So far we have tried three of the meals and LOVED them! It really is that easy, I make a new one about every other day excluding weekends and both our dinners and lunches have been taken care of for all of us! Maddy even likes the meals. The best part is NO WORK! I have made rice or corn bread or salads with the meals, but come on, the big part is done and the sides are choice 🙂

Recipes! Note: I didn’t include a lot of the needed spices on my grocery list because they are staples in our spice cabinet, you may want to read this over before going shopping!!

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If you have any questions let me know!!! Happy Prepping!!! I didn’t take pictures of the process, but I will next time for sure, I will also start earlier in the day, measuring at midnight is not recommended!

All meals either taken from or adapted from: Loving My Nest

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Y’all Hungry?! Baby Food Edition!

y'all hungry buttonGood Morning!  Before Maddy started eating pretty much whatever we are eating (current state) I had a lot of practice making her fresh purees to enjoy!

I LOVE FOOD!

I LOVE FOOD!

I decided after reading several blogs from other young mamas that I would be making her baby food.  Initially I thought I would make everything, but after an attempt at making a chicken puree that looked more like a gross paste…GAG….(I did not feed her that) I amended my plans to make her everything EXCEPT meat purees, we would be buying those!IMG_5876

Overall, I would say I probably saved us  a couple of hundred dollars, maybe a little more… total by making the majority of her foods but, in a household living on a shoe string budget, a couple of hundred dollars helps us out in a big way!!IMG_5877

Making baby purees is EASY!  It is pretty much a few steps repeated a million times in any combination that sounds good!

MORE!!!

MORE!!!

Buy your groceries…. We would go to Costco and load up on any fresh produce we could find that sounded good.  Maddy LOVES strawberries and raspberries (as evident from the pictures) so I would add those to a lot of the mixes just to get the flavor she enjoys.  IMG_5878

Here is a list of the foods from this round-

Honeydew, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, peaches, banana, pineapple, carrots, apples, pears, sweet peas, sweet corn, potatoes…. I think that is all!IMG_5879

After I washed and prepped (peeled, cubed or sliced) all of the fruit I would steam the produce needing to be softened then I simply make different combinations by putting the produce in our Cuisinart and blending it until pretty much smooth.  I would leave a little bit of texture just to get her used to eating textured foods.  Depending on the nature of the mix I sometimes would add rice cereal as a thickening agent, or frozen fruits if it was getting a little watery.IMG_5885

A few of the mixes Maddy loves: carrots & apples, apple-pear, carrots- strawberries, honeydew-banana, sweet pea-carrots, sweet corn-apples, and her FAVE pineapple-strawberry-banana**IMG_5884

After everything was mixed up, I simply pour out the mixtures into ice trays and little tupperware containers and then plop them into the freezer.  When it was time to feed her I just pull out a tray and pop a cube out or bring out a little container and put them in the microwave for seconds and poof food 🙂

to save space, after the cubes are frozen - sometimes I would pop them out and store in a large tupperware

to save space, after the cubes are frozen – sometimes I would pop them out and store in a large tupperware

Overall, the ease and guaranteed freshness that came from making Maddy’s food made this entire process TOTALLY worth while and should siblings ever be entered into Maddy’s life, I could see me doing this again!!!

Contentment!

Contentment!

1st Birthday…as requested!

Y’all…. it is actually happening!  My little nugget is turning one in just two short weeks, cue tears of both joy and a little sadness (I mean, one!!! OHMYGOSH)  so anyways, BIG SHOCK!  I am planning a big birthday bash to celebrate our first year as a family of three!  I have been working with our good friend to plan a perfect little Sophie soiree for Miss Maddy. IMG_3372

There will be so much more on her birthday to come, but I want to save the details for after the party!!  Anyways…. Madison does not need anything for her birthday, but when I tell people that on a daily basis they roll their eyes and ask again for reals, like give me an idea because I don’t know kids 🙂 So at the request of a few family members and friends here is a little look into what Maddy likes these days!! I included a few links, but I’m pretty sure everything is sold at Target (because that is our second home)IMG_3059

By the way, it is hard not to think about my poor swollen feet/hands that were my reality one year ago, and how much our lives have changed, it seriously takes my breath away thinking about how much fun, and love Madison has brought into our world!!! Oh man, I am going to be one sappy Mama come October 4th!!!!

Maddy 1 Year:

Books!!!  Madison LOVES touch and feel or peek-a-boo books!  She has recently started pulling specific books off of her shelves for us to read and they are always the interactive board books.

From Amazon- example

From Amazon- example

Aden & Anais-  this is simply the best brand!!! Maddy is obsessed with her little “cuddle” blankets and always needs more.  She has them everywhere, in bed, in the car, in my diaper bag, in the living room etc…. if she is in ever in need of comfort these blankets offer her that security (hence the name security blanket)—– Also, she just as of this week started sleeping with a blanket and Aden & Anais has a dream blanket that I know she will love just as much as her security blankets!

link below- Cuddle Blankets

link below- Cuddle Blankets

http://www.adenandanais.com/shop/issie.aspx

link below, dream blanket

link below, dream blanket

http://www.adenandanais.com/shop/blankets.aspx

Cookware 🙂  Girl loves to play with our pots and pans, Tupperware etc… any thing that she can bang on she loves!

link below

link below

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=19731096

Stackable stuff! Maddy played with these stackable LARGE legos for the first time during a play date with Mr. Cooper while in AK and she really thought these were awesome 🙂  I had a bit of a time learning how to properly construct any structure! HAHA!

example, at Toys R Us

example, at Toys R Us

Any type of throwable items…. balls, cups, lids etc… she is really learning to throw so we are introducing her to any sort of non-destructable item!!

She also really likes anything that you can press a button and hear a noise or see a light or bonus points if it looks like an iPhone or iPad 🙂

And….. since the number one question is what size is Maddy now (I mean baby girl clothes OMG)- She is currently wearing 12months for the most part, but 18 months are not too, too far off, especially if the clothes are for colder weather.  And size 4 for shoes (she is in 3’s now, but will be in 4’s in the next couple of months)IMG_3039

I CANNOT wait to share all of the party details for all of our friends and family who will not be able to make the party, but I want it to be a surprise for those attending!!!

Madison: 11 Months

IMG_6956Madison: 11 Months!!IMG_6959

One month away y’all!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!! Let me first start at this milestone, because time is going fast enough without me talking about 12 months! (seriously though, slow down please)IMG_6973

11 months has been CRAZY!!!! And my 11 months has been crazy, I mean I am pretty sure my daughter is crazy: crazy fast, crazy mobile, crazy silly and just plain crazy!!!! She is WALKING!!! Not just steps like 10 months brought us, but full on walking.  IMG_6976

This just happened about a week ago and still when she stands up and follows me into a room  I am totally taken back, I mean didn’t we just bring her home from the hospital!!!!IMG_6979

She is developing such a fun and really silly personality.  Maddy loves to play games and she really loves laughing.  If I crack up at something she joins right in laughing with me.  The other day she started laughing at the pugs while they were playing and she would point and wave all enthusiastically at them then point to me and we would laugh together.  I think it is amazing watching her grow and learn to interact and really learn to play. There is not a day that goes by where I am not reminded how lucky and blessed I am to be able to stay home and be a part of these little developments.IMG_6989

She is still a good sleeper at night almost going 12 hours at a time!!! (that was my goal for 12 months) — and while she is still napping consistently twice a day for 1.5-2 hours at a time, she now has decided NOTHING can be in her crib during nap time.  Her blahblah elephant, teddy bear, and cuddle blankets that she HAS to have with her for all sleep times she tosses out of her crib before she can fall asleep at nap time.  It is pretty funny to watch on the monitor.IMG_6997

Maddy is still talking up a storm and is now associating Dada, Daddy and Da with Justin specifically and Mamamamama, and Mama with me 🙂  Her absolute favorite thing to do is to say hi and wave at people when we are out.  The other day while shopping at JoAnns, Maddy would yell “hi” at other shoppers and wave, the thing is, the girl will not be ignored…. thus, those grumpy shopper refusing to play along would be yelled at louder, and louder until they would give in and wave at my little nugget.  I mean, have a heart people, this baby girl is proud of her wave!!!IMG_7017

Unlike the past where she would be a little shy, she is now all about getting the attention and playing with our friends when they are over!!  Maddy is really happy meeting new people and is always willing to let someone play with her toys, as long as everyone is on board with her food being hers, she is not so into sharing food!IMG_7022

As always, I am LOVING our new life with this little nugget and continue to look forward to many more memories and milestones ahead!!!  Just think in a few short weeks I’ll be posting about her 1st Birthday party!!!!!!!!!!! IMG_7023

We’re TuTu Trilled!!!

IMG_5554A couple of weeks after our little Madison was born we were SO excited to find out that two of our good friends were expecting a little nugget of their own!!!!

IMG_5553Fast forward several months to finding out that they were having a GIRL!!!! YAY! We were already planning many mother daughter dates with who would presumably follow in their Mama’s steps in being BFFs!!! IMG_5478

And thus our theme was formed for this lovely Mama & baby’s baby shower, and girl was it ever GIRLY!!!!!

Little Ella's Aunt was slightly excited :)

Little Ella’s Aunt was slightly excited 🙂

Think: Pinks, tulle, sparkles and brunch!

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Treats table!

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IMG_5449IMG_5447IMG_5448IMG_5451We had such a blast celebrating Katie’s baby girl and were even more excited when we got to welcome her into the world in June, two days after we expected her!!!! I think it was a good thing, because really who would want to share a birthday with North West  🙂  She was thinking ahead!!!  IMG_6077A few days after the family got settled in we headed over to snuggle on this little newborn!!!10349_10102356572960925_2070584332_n

We are lucky enough to get to spend Ella’s first year with her in Wauwatosa and are looking forward to the girls growing up together even if it has to be long distance!!! As Katie and I have already discussed we will leave town in the middle of the night to avoid our goodbyes 🙂  1017497_10102356573405035_2027897094_n

I know it is months down the road, but better late than never!

Welcome Ella Ann we are so happy you are here!!!!998678_10102356568899065_139458709_n

Y’all Hungry?! Mini Pot Pies

Y’all Hungry: Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Okay, I have been meaning to blog this recipe for MONTHS now, but things have been busy and I’ve been a horrible blogger…. So…. try these and you’ll forgive me because this takes chicken pot pies to the EASIEST level ever, and OH so good! PS. Invite me over when you make them, because I love them even more when made by someone else 🙂IMG_5638

Ingredients: This is our new go to meal because we pretty much always have all the ingredients on hand!

2 cans crescent rolls

1 can cream of something (whatever is in the pantry, I’ve used chicken, broccoli, mushroom)

Shredded cheese

2-3 cooked chicken breasts (or the equivalent)

1 bag of mixed frozen veggies

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease your muffin tin and steam/cook the bag of veggies.  Meanwhile, cook your chicken breasts, I simply cook mine in chicken broth to keep them moist. I have also used a rotisserie chicken picked up from the store, either way once cooked shred the chicken into small pieces.

IMG_5633 Okay. Mix together the chicken, cream of something, veggies, chicken and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

IMG_5631Unfold the crescent rolls and lay the dough out, one roll per muffin cup.

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Add a scoop of chicken mixture on top of the roll, top with a handful of cheese and then fold the sides of the roll back over top the cheese. Repeat until out of mixture/rolls.IMG_5637

Cook for about 25 minutes or until rolls turn a golden brown on top.  Enjoy warm with a big side salad and you’ve got yourself an easy from your pantry dinner!!IMG_5638

Madison: 10 months!

IMG_6624Madison: 10 Months!!
IMG_6638Well, it FINALLY happened…. Maddy is officially saying “MaMa” and I am THRILLED!!!!
It’s really more like “mamamamamama” but I’ll take it and treasure the thought!

oh yea, I point now! It means I want that NOW!!!

oh yea, I point now! It means I want that NOW!!!

10 months has brought us about 15 steps  (literally) closer to walking, constant standing, conquering of the staircase and many more “words”.  IMG_6656
She says, hey, bye bye, night night (we believe), dada, mama, and nananananananan oh, and with her Uncle Jared she says- whah whah whah whah… it’s their special language!IMG_6659
Maddy loves to dance especially to the Grease soundtrack and she recently became obsessed with waving while riding in her push buggy.
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She is still a napping champ and sleeping through the night & I’m fairly confident she could win a deli meat eating contest if we could find one!  IMG_6677
Let’s see….. 10 months had many more firsts other than the first steps- she had her first two flights, one to Louisiana and one to Alaska — her first trip to Alaska and meeting many of our “extended” family. She went down a slide, walked full speed with a walker, and became best friends with both a wild yellow lab and a GIANT golden retriever.
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Enjoy the pictures from our 10 month photo shoot, she was a willing super model this go around!

Madison: 9 Months

IMG_6226Madison : 9 Months!!!IMG_6232

Another month down and it just seems that each night I close my eyes and wake up to  the next month, time is FLYING!!!!IMG_6240

Maddy is another month old and the girl is becoming more and more mobile by the second.  IMG_6245

This month she climbed up two stairs and has started to let go of her “railings” while standing and is standing by herself (for a few seconds)!  Walking is going to happen any week now, and I am NOT ready!  IMG_6285

She is still talking up a storm saying “dada” and what sounds like “bye bye.” Even with my hours of practice, she refuses to spit out “mama.” 🙂IMG_6309

We moved on from the month of no naps to two naps a day and she is sleeping at least 9 hours straight at night, then back to sleep for at least 3 more after eating.  I am like a new person with all this sleep and free time!IMG_6314

Maddy loves going to the pool, playing with her friends and people watching.She is still very giggly and her silly personality is starting to really shine through.The pugs are officially best friends with Maddy as she has become good at sharing her snacks with them all the time! HAHA!IMG_6321

Same as last month, the photo shoots are becoming more challenging 🙂

Enjoy the pictures!

Red * White & SPARKLE!

IMG_6164Happy 4th of July Y’all!!!!

(don’t judge me on the timing!)IMG_6175

I wanted to start by saying it was amazing how many people across our beautiful nation celebrated Madison’s 9 month birthday (7/4) with beautiful fireworks! It was truly touching 🙂 HAHAHA!!!!IMG_6170

I don’t know about y’all but I cannot hear the National Anthem be performed without tearing up, I am just proud to be an American and am more proud and THANKFUL for our troops who continue to fight for the lives we are able to live!!IMG_6180

Needless to say, put my adorable mamasbiasedopinion at a parade waving a flag as a float of Vets pass by, and the crowd stands….pile of mush!IMG_6183

This 4th of July as a family we walked down to the Wauwatosa 4th of July parade and watched Miss Maddy really learn to wave and cheer as she experienced her first parade.IMG_6185

We had been working on waving for a few weeks and being out there with hoards (everyone in Tosa) of people waving she really caught on and got into the action! I am pretty sure she waved at everyone who passed including lots of pooches until she figured out how to clap.IMG_6192

Then she clapped while floats passed! It was too cute for words!!!!IMG_6189

The Mr. ran out and grabbed a flag from a boy scout troop passing them out for Maddy to wave and anytime she wasn’t eating the flag she was waving it proudly!IMG_6195

We had a blast!  I recently read on a blog that the best part of parenting is experiencing everything again from the eyes of your children.IMG_6197

I could not agree more, it was exciting seeing how Maddy reacts to marching bands, fire engines and just people waving!IMG_6194

I CANNOT wait to see how she reacts to fireworks in the years to come!

Mama Guilt….

IMG_2404Man, OH man… I’ve been dealing with some serious Mama Guilt lately…. and it is not an awesome feeling.IMG_5649

You see there is this bond that has formed between me and my little love and that means that when I have to step away for any extended period of time (oh say any time…) there is a cry that Madison instantly starts, and it is a cry that BREAKS my heart. She looks at me and her whole face says, Mama PLEASE pick me up and love on me because I already miss you and need you sooooo much…..IMG_5646

And then as my heart is breaking into approximately one million pieces, I leave to go teach my class…. no choice, it’s a job, or attend a class… no choice, I’m paying for Grad school… so I have to leave her. Well folks, this past month the “have to” changed and I sorta started to have a life as me again… weird really! I have not gone out in forever, I just don’t. I’m not complaining, because given the choice I’d rather stay home as a family then go out any day, so that is what I do.image-1

But lately, I’ve really noticed how much I appreciate having conversations with other adults, and other women to be specific. See these meet-ups with the babies give me a little glimpse into hanging out with other mamas and while it is short brief periods of time, I really enjoy the friendships I’ve made. I also have made some pretty great friendships with other dental school ladies or wives of… and I NEVER get to see any of these people! So that brings me to this guilt issue…..image-2

About a month ago (like I said, no sleep June, therefore, no posts…) I was invited to go to a Brewer’s game with a few ladies on a Monday night, that just happened to be the night before I had dinner plans with my “bookclub”…. no problem. As I said, I never go out, I didn’t have a problem (or so I thought) with asking the Mr. to watch our little nugget for the nights.image-3

So I went…..

and Maddy cried for 2.5 hours while I was at the baseball game. Now, I did not know this while I was out. I had a great time, ordered a fancy Brewer’s Blue Lemonade, ate a great meal and visited with new friends all of who are also new moms! I didn’t realize how much I had missed girl’s nights out until I was out! We even stayed out until almost 11, wild moms 🙂image-4

Then I came home and made one fatal mistake… I asked the Mr. “how did it go.” And my husband, Captain Truthful, the kind of harsh reality, Mr. won’t sugar coat anything (don’t ask him unless you really are sure you can handle the truth)image

Horrible. “It was horrible, she cried for 2.5 hours straight, hysterically. She wouldn’t drink her milk, go down, play etc……………………” Horrible.

And mood killed, guilt on high. I honestly felt like a balloon that was just hit with a dart. Deflated. I’m pretty sure I could not have felt worse. I was out enjoying myself and my baby love was at home screaming and crying for me. Needless to say, I told the Mr. that I was not going to book club the next night. I stayed up until Maddy woke up to eat and I cuddled her for what felt like forever. She was still red and puffy, my heart was broken.

image-5Cue the next morning where I apparently was acting mad at the Mr. (duh) and he was confused. I said, why did you have to tell me how horrible it was? He said, it was the truth. OKAY, but, I never go out, and Maddy was safe, with her daddy who loves her , not sick, well fed, not hurt etc… she was fine, just missing me. Do I really have to know that she cried. I would rather not know that….. He didn’t understand. But he told me he would just lie to me next time. THANKS!image-6

That afternoon he walked through the door and told me that I was either going to book club with the girls, or he was going to physically remove me from the house and lock me out until 10:00. Seriously… we fought…. he won, I went to book club and griped about him! Then I received several texts all positive about how their night was going, “it’s going great!” “she’s having a blast,” “bath time went great!” “She drank her whole bottle,” “she went right down!”

I didn’t answer one (yep, I’m mature!) I had a great night, living in my blissful state of things are going well at home! To this day, I have no idea if he was lying, but I don’t care!!! In this instance, I am grateful for the white lies and night away from guilt!

Mama guilt, it’s a real powerful thing!!!!images