Saturday, August 30, 2008

new recipes to keep

This week I made 2 new recipes that we liked. (We did NOT like the Baked Oatmeal.)

First of all, I got this Crockpot Lasagna recipe a year ago from Missy at Sweet Funky Vintage. She posted this on her blog, and I meant to try it before now. I made it yesterday and have leftovers to eat and some to freeze for later. Here is the recipe:

Crockpot Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar spaghetti sauce (26 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 c water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 package no boil lasagna noodles
1 1/2 c ricotta (or cottage cheese if you prefer)
4 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c shredded parmesan

In skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano and salt.

(Note from Marianna: The size of your crockpot will determine how many layers you get. My oval 6 quart fit 3 layers, so I basically split the mixtures into 3 parts. It was a little awkward arranging the noodles. I broke them up for the edges. That didn't affect the taste one bit. The ricotta cheese was hard to spread, so I washed my hands well and used my fingers.)

In crockpot, place 1/4 of the meat sauce mixture (for me it was 1/3). Place one layer of noodles. Place one layer of ricotta, sprinkle layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Continue layering.

Cook on low 4-5 hours!

Next, I decided to make some homemade pancakes. I don't know who posted this recipe. It was in the comment section of the frugal breakfast recipes. Jeremy, Samuel, and I ate these pancakes. Samuel doesn't seem to like pancakes, but Jeremy and I enjoyed them. For those of you who can't imagine why I would make them from scratch, I can assure you that it took about 5 minutes to make the batter. I'm not kidding. Just 5 minutes... I use buttermilk from the baking aisle. It's in a small paper container, and you just add water to it. Once you open it you have to remember to refrigerate it, but if you're like me, it would be a huge waste of money to buy regular buttermilk. You could also use the vinegar idea in the recipe.

Pancakes from Scratch

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let sit 5 minutes)

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Mix everything together. Pour 1/4 cup onto hot, lightly greased griddle. Turn over when top is bubbly and edges are slightly dry. Makes 8 pancakes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BabiesRUs coupons for Labor Day weekend

Labor Day is almost here, and many stores are having big sales. Here are some BabiesRUs Labor Day weekend coupons that might interest you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oatmeal Waffles- a healthier waffle

I was on Money Saving Mom and came across a recipe for baked oatmeal that I liked. I haven't made the baked oatmeal yet, but she asked for frugal breakfast ideas, which led me to the comment section. I found several good recipes there and ended up at Main Street Mom Cooks. There I was able to find an oatmeal waffle recipe that I tried this morning (late morning since Samuel didn't wake up until 8:30). She puts oats in the blender or grinder to make oatmeal flour for these waffles, but I was at Whole Foods and found Organic Oat Flour. I decided to try it out since I found it and wanted to know what how "good stuff" tastes, but I will end up making my own in the future since it was $3.19 for what will only make 2 batches of the waffle recipe.

So, what did I think of the waffles? I was a little nervous at first because I am so used to the taste of regular waffles, but the taste grew on me after a few bites. Samuel also loved them, which makes me happy because he can be a very picky eater. At least now I know of something healthy that he likes! Oh, and by the way, after both of us chowing down, it made enough for me to freeze 16 pieces- when I say piece I mean 1/4 of the waffle. So, I will pop these in the toaster oven in the mornings since it's difficult for me to make a homemade breakfast these days. I hope that in a few months things will slow down, so that I make a good breakfast everyday. I don't think a lot of moms feel good about giving their children cereal (as Monica said a few days ago), yet so many of us do it. I know I am quick to give Samuel an organic yogurt, some fruit, and an organic cereal bar, but I really want to make him breakfast each morning. I will take it one day at a time and prayerfully I will work up to being able to do that most mornings. I need to follow Monica's advice to find things that I can prepare at night and pop in the oven in the morning. I've been collecting that recipes that work for that, and I will share them as I make them. (I don't normally like to share a recipe that I haven't made.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An overnight pull-up that won't leak???

This is my 2nd post of the day. The first was about Vance's well visit. See below.

HELP!!! Samuel is now wearing Huggies nighttime pull-ups to bed. The problem is that he's waking up in wet pajamas each morning. He is obviously a heavy wetter. Do any of you have any suggestions for nighttime pull-ups that will hold more?

Oh, and I just found a $2.00 coupon for Huggies Pull-Ups that you can print at home. You are allowed one coupon a month, so that's exciting news! Just look for special offers here. (You will have to register before you can get the coupon.)

Thanks in advance for any nighttime advice you have!

Update- Thanks for your advice. Samuel has done fine the last two nights with the pull-ups. We don't give him liquids after dinner, but sometimes he doesn't use the potty before or after his bath even though we put him on it. (You can't force it out of him, right?) I think him actually using the potty has made the difference. Maybe we will take him to the potty after reading books to him if he didn't go before or after his bath.

2 Month Well Visit

Vance had his 2 month well visit today since the office wasn't open on the actual day.

Here are his stats:

Weight: 12 lb. 5 oz. (75th percentile)
Length: 25 in. (97th percentile)
Head: 16 in. (70th percentile)

The doctor was pleased with his progress. He is growing like a weed! He's got some rolls on his thighs that Samuel didn't have, but I think they're cute! As far as the reflux goes, we aren't convinced that the Prevacid is making a difference, so we will probably take him off it and see how he does without medication. The doctor said to look at it as an experiment and put him back on if we feel like he was better on it. In case you were wondering, Prevacid is not harmful to babies or children and can be taken for 5 years if needed. The doctor said their are no long term consequences, which makes me happy because I had thought about that and have heard people talk bad about using it on a baby. Oh, and Jeremy stayed for Vance's shots while I took Samuel to the waiting room to wait. I CAN'T handle seeing my children in pain and have always left for shots. I love it that Jeremy is always ready and eager to go with me to their doctor's visits if at all possible. (Thanks, Jeremy! It makes me happy because it shows how much you care about their growth and development! Love you!)

Asleep and smiling...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trip to local nature center

This is my 2nd post of the day, so check out the one below this one.

Jeremy's parents were in town over the weekend. I stayed home with Vance while they went with Samuel and Jeremy to a nature center that isn't even a mile from our home. Samuel loves this place, and he and Jeremy go several times a week. It started out as a trip to the slide and tire swing, and now it's become more nature exploration and rock throwing. Here are some pictures from their visit.

So Inquisitive!

Samuel is looking out into our backyard and into the neighbors yards- He is always looking for chipmunks. We have many of them... You should see the holes in our yard!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Sweet Samuel

Samuel's favorite phrase these days is "This is fun!" It is so cute to hear him say it. I got a video of him saying it yesterday while he was eating a cinnamon roll for dessert. I never knew he would be able to talk so much at this age, so it's been so fun and surprising to hear the new things he can say. Both Jeremy and I find ourselves looking at each other and smiling a lot (or even laughing) at the things he says.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Precious Vance

Here is a video I got a week ago when Vance was 7 weeks old. It is full of cheese, but what would you expect?? I had to do the talking since he can't talk.

Finding ways to spend less $$

Recently Jeremy and I have been trying to come up with ways to cut back now that we have two children. Here are some things we came up with. As we come up with more ideas, I will share! (WARNING- To some of you these may seem silly, but we are just trying to think of anything we can to save a little cash each month as we live on one income.)

Jeremy hung this clothesline for me. I have already used it to dry this set of sheets (which look funny because they are half dry and half wet), 2 tablecloths, and an extra sheet. He set up a pulley for me, which will be nice to use when I am hanging up smaller things. I will probably continue to dry some things in the dryer like Vance's clothes, but we will still end up with a cheaper power bill, which is nice considering it has been about $225 a month even with the A/C set at 77 degrees. (I just can't tolerate it any warmer than that. If you can, I admire you!)

We have been buying bottled water ever since I got pregnant for several reasons- convenience, motivation to drink water, and the health of the baby in the womb or nursing baby. Now that I'm not pregnant or nursing I don't really have an excuse to buy bottled water, so I went to Target and bought a Brita Ultramax pitcher. It's 18 cups, which is a nice size. Now I have the cold water that I love at a cheaper price. (If I could only get more motivated because for some reason I drink more when I am drinking out of bottles.)

This one doesn't really count, but I thought I'd include it anyway. Samuel loves apples and would eat several a day if we let him. I don't know if you realize that apples aren't cheap. Well, yesterday while Jeremy was hanging the clothesline, a neighbor told him to make sure we picked some apples from his trees because they are just falling off and rotting... We were thrilled, and Jeremy and Samuel went apple picking. Thank you Lord for a little blessing like free apples! (I think I might try to make applesauce too because I love it!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Ever since Vance was born I noticed some things about him that I hadn't noticed with Samuel. He was spitting up after every feeding and even hours later, choking on breast or bottle, arching his back and turning his head in pain during and after feedings, crying in pain, milk coming out of his nose, constant stuffy nose, wet burps and hiccups, and not sleeping well for naps or bedtime. We started to get concerned when he was up for 10 or 12 hours straight on two different occasions. We all know that young babies sleep, and we knew this was not normal. We took him to the doctor on Saturday since he had had that sleepless stretch on Friday. Thank the Lord for Saturday hours! The doctor asked us a bunch of questions and said that Vance has reflux. She said that since we had already done some important things like elevating the crib and keeping him upright after feedings, we could now try medication. We started with Zantac on Saturday. She said to give it two weeks to really kick in and then to come back for a follow-up visit. If we need to, we'll switch medications.

Since Saturday when he started the Zantac, we have had our good days and bad days. Vance's body is probably adjusting to it. He has had 2 good days in a row, so that's good. I have also been doing research on reflux. I actually enjoy learning more about it. I found a pillow that puts him at a 30 degree angle, which is supposed to be important for reflux babies. It's called an AR Pillow, and I am pleased with it so far. It's great because you can use it on the the floor, the couch (at this young age) and then in the crib or pack n play with the velcro attachments. After every feeding, I put him on the pillow for 20-30 minutes. The first day he resisted being put in it since it involves a harness, but then the next day (yesterday) he let me put it in it even to sleep last night. I was so happy when he slept 5 hours straight last night, which was the first night we used it. I am not going to assume that every night the AR Pillow will bring us that many hours of uninterrupted sleep, but I am going to thank the Lord for the nights that he does sleep more than 2-3 hours straight because until now he struggled to sleep in general. Here are a few photos of Vance on the pillow. I figured you might want to see what it looks like. You can see how he was nervous at first, but then he warmed up to it. I just love his smiles. In fact, I got a good video of him on it yesterday. I will post that later.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

First Stroll in Double Jogging Stroller

Last night we took the boys out in the double jogging stroller for the first time. Samuel said, "This is fun." It was fun, but it was a lot of work for the person pushing. Our neighborhood, which is one street that forms a semi-circle, is hilly. We went 1/2 mile, and I was wiped out. It's a good thing it was bedtime. Now I know what I need to do to lose the baby weight...

Before the stroll Vance wasn't so sure about it... Then, he started smiling.

Summer fun for Samuel

Since I've been writing a lot and not posting many photos, I thought I would just post some photos today. It works well when you're short on time, which is my life story right now...

Monday, August 4, 2008

7 years on August 3, 2008

Warning- This is an extremely long and boring post that I'm mainly doing for my benefit since my memory is shot...

Yesterday Jeremy and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. It's funny how anniversaries are quite different once you have children. I remember going away for the weekend when we celebrated our second anniversary. I also remember romantic dinners. Those were the days! This year was quite different, but that didn't make it any less special to me. We had a nice day together- Samuel slept in until 8:00, which was late for him. Then, Vance gave us an anniversary present by taking a wonderful 2 1/2 hour nap, which was a huge blessing (more on that later). We took Vance and Samuel to church at 11:00. It was Vance's second time in church but his first time at our church. Vance slept through everything but the clapping. After church all 4 of us went to lunch at Jason's Deli. It wasn't exactly what I picture as a anniversary spot, but it was nice to have relaxing family time out of the house since I am spending a lot of time at home these days. After lunch, we went home to put Samuel and Vance down for naps, and we watched a movie that Jeremy had rented. I don't even want to mention the name because I wouldn't recommend it to anyone- Jeremy got it because it looked like a chick flick and he was trying to please me... Samuel took a great nap, but Vance decided he wanted some snuggle time on the couch with Mommy and Daddy. Since I desperately wanted Vance to sleep and didn't want to wake Samuel with Vance's noises and tears, I held Vance on my chest while he slept. (Once again I will share more about Vance's issues in another post.) We stayed at home after naps. We can always find ways to entertain Samuel at home, which is good since it's a challenge to venture out with a 7 week old baby and a 2 year old. Later on, we took the boys to return the movie and make an exchange at Target. By this time it was dinnertime, and we had no clue what we were going to eat. It's a good thing we got a call from friends in our Bible study. Bible study had been cancelled, but they invited us to eat dinner with them. We had a nice dinner; Samuel and Vance both did great! After dinner we put the kids to bed and went to bed too.

Oh, and we got two more presents from the kids- Vance slept 5 1/2 hours straight last night and then both boys slept in this morning until 8:15, which was nice since we are SO tired!

Last but not least, Jeremy, you are my media naranja. Thank you for 7 wonderful years. I love you more each day and treasure my time with you! You are a wonderful husband and father. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us in the future! The picture below was taken a few weeks before we found out we were expecting Samuel. Can you even remember those days????