Tuesday, December 31, 2013

You say goodbye and I say hello.

I was listening to The Beatles on my way to work this morning. Such a great way to start the day. The song Hello Goodbye (one of my favorites) came on. Which made me automatically think about the fact that today is the last day of 2013 even though the song isn't about that. That led to rememberance of the many Facebook statuses I've already seen on the subject. Most are a variance of "new year, new me", "2013 can kiss my ass", "2014 is going to be the BEST EVER!!!!"... yeah, the same ones all of you have seen and possibly posted. The very same ones that I saw last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. And the year before that...
This is how my 2013 felt. Bright and shiny.
It just seems like everyone is so ready to say Goodbye to 2013 and Hello to 2014. I'm afraid to post a status on Facebook about it because I see a huge backlash coming from it as in I think I'm perfect and better than everyone else. Not that a fear of backlash would stop me from posting it. If I want to I will. I just think it's sad that I have a valid reason to think a happy post would make some people cringe. Well, start cringing because this is why I'm saying Goodbye to 2013 with no hopes of things having to get better, just that they stay the way they are because I'm happy. Happy! People, did ya hear that? Some people in the world are happy! There have been times I haven't been but I am now. And I don't want to feel bad for that.
I'm not perfect. My life is not perfect. I don't want it to sound that way. My husband and I both work very hard for what we have. I'm a great friend. I'm honest. I'm there if you need me. I try to be the best mom I can. I yell. I get angry. I try to be as good of a wife to my husband as he is a husband to me. But even with all the faults I am still happy because I make the best out of it and spend as much time with my family as possible because that is what keeps me going. There are things people can't control but you can control whether or not to be happy with what you have and at the very least make a conscious decision to TRY to make the best of it. I wish you the best of luck on this from the bottom of my heart because everyone deserves to be happy.

This is how my 2013 went. A lot of it in pictures. It started off busy as always after the holidays and the kids being out of school. We started paperwork on selling our house. It took FOREVER. It was also bittersweet. I mean, we were ready for something bigger but still... it was our 1st house.
This was taken while we were buying it.
Goodbye house. :'(
We went to the circus.

I made my 1st cake for Easter.
I felt like this a lot.

Ate some sushi.
I felt like this ALL the time.
Got my hair to do something I wanted it to one time.
Took the hubs out for Father's Day.

I felt like I should since this happens.

Even though that happens I feel this way about him every day.

I made these faces WAY too much.

My baby girl turned 4.

I said things I probably shouldn't.

Got Bacon off to her 1st day of school EVER
 & B to 3rd grade.

Enjoyed our new backyard.

Went and saw some animals.

B joined Cub Scouts.

We went to a fair.
My husband made these faces. A lot.

Took both the kids on a Cub Scout
camping trip.
Dressed up for Halloween.
And had an awesome Christmas with all of our family.

I honestly cannot complain. 2013 was good to me and I hope somewhere out there it was good to some other people too. I can't imagine it being any better. I will say that I hope we find more time for things like camping and traveling. We've come to realize we all enjoy those things, and even more so when we get to do them together. So Hello 2014! I hope you treat me as well as 2013. And Goodbye 2013. You were great to me. I will truly miss you.

Happy New Year!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My biggest little is 9 today.

*Warning: This is long.

I woke up today with the realization that in exactly one more year my son will be in double digits. I keep asking myself  "How did this happen?" And since I am one of those people who answer themselves, I keep saying "I have absolutely no idea. He was 3 yesterday."  Sad fact is I'm wrong. He was not 3 yesterday. He was 8 yesterday. And today he's 9. But at one time, a time that seems like forever ago and yesterday at the same time, he was a baby.
Look at all the people who were just waiting for him to get here. There are plenty more
but I don't have all those pictures on my computer.
Not to be biased, but wasn't he the prettiest baby ever? :) He stays tan. He was even born tan. He was beautiful and perfect and everything I never knew I wanted. I was on bed rest for 8 months with this kid. I have went 5 days without even a drink of water because of him. While pregnant no less.
That hair! I didn't have it cut until he was 2. It was ringlet curly. Even dressed in all blue
people thought he was a girl.
I was not excited about a baby while I was pregnant. That sounds awful I know. But it's the truth. I was too sick and honestly I had never wanted children. Not even one child.
That hair got cut off during this time span. :( But it was time for him to look like a little man.
After all that I should have had a perfect labor. Not so much. I went in for contractions and had to go home. No big deal; happens all the time. Later that night my contractions went from 8 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart. By the time I got to the hospital it was every 30 seconds.
He's my mini me for sure.
They strapped some stuff up to me when I got there. I told them I had to go to the restroom so the nurse said to let them get a quick read first then we'll unhook you and you can go. The next thing I know people are flying everywhere. I was informed they had lost his heartbeat and I had to have an emergency c-section and he had to get out right then. That was the moment for me. That moment that every mom has when they know they'll do anything to protect their babies. My only response was "Then take him out right now." I have never been so scared in my whole life.
He was dressed as Batman the night his dad and I got married.
They wheeled me off to the OR with me leaving my mom crying in the hallway because they wouldn't even stop for her to tell me she loved me. She had to run with them. I had already went into shock by this point. What had actually happened was I was in full blown labor but I hadn't dilated. The sack he was in had ruptured and all the toxic mess in it was now all in me. I didn't care. I just wanted him out and safe.
This was the year baby sister was born.
My doctor came into the OR wearing camo pants and telling me he had to leave his place in line at Chick-Fil-A for me. He was the best doctor ever and tried his best to joke. We were pretty close, not a normal patient relationship because he used to come by my tattoo shop. They gave me a spinal tap, strapped me down, and went to cutting.
Getting way too big.
When you have a c-section they put a sheet up so you can't see. I had already been throwing up while they were cutting and my nerves were shot. I needed to see, so I told my doctor to take the sheet down. Everyone said no and he just said "She can handle it, take it down!" Then I got to watch my son make his entrance into the world. He was soundless and as blue as a crayon. Even then, he was still the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. The first time I heard him cry was about a minute later and it was the happiest sound I'd ever heard.
First lost tooth was around this time.
We stayed in the hospital for a week. Once he got out of me he was perfect. I was not. I had tons of issues and don't even really remember the first couple of days I was there except for one thing. Someone was in the bathroom and I was in the room alone with him and he started crying. I was so medicated that I couldn't even lift my head. In a few seconds we were both crying for completely different reasons. Looking back I realize that everyone was much more worried about me at this point but I never even realized it because all I could think about was him.
I need to show them all these pictures when they fight.
We both made it out of the hospital alive and he is as healthy as he can be. He is one of the biggest blessings in my life and I thank God that he picked me to be his mom. I can't imagine life without him. He keeps me going. And although it is bittersweet I am having the most amazing time watching him grow up.
And this is where we are now.
I have missed so much that I can never take back, for numerous reasons. I was too tired, too busy, had to work... we all have these problems. Funnily enough, although I have so many regrets about his life, he still loves me more than anybody in this world. So while I feel like I've failed him more times than I can count, he feels like I am the greatest person he knows. That is the blessing of a child. You belong to them as much as they belong to you. I love him more than life itself.

This post wasn't for any purpose. Not to shed some great light on anything. Just for me to reminisce and remember his life today since that's what we're celebrating.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baked Chicken and Rice

Last night I got home and the hubs had my new dining room table put together (WOOHOO) and most of the chairs. We took a "short" trip to IKEA Sunday (by short I mean due to issues and traffic we left at 10:20am and got home after 7pm) to pick up the couch and bed for the kids Christmas bedroom redo. We wound up getting a table that is extendable up to 10 people and 4 chairs. We're still looking for 2 end chairs because he wants a "captain's chair" as he calls it. Boys... *sigh* Anyway, he was getting the table together and then taking B to Cub Scouts. I make my menu around the Cub Scout schedule every week and had found a recipe a while back for this chicken. It said you could cook from 1 1/2 - 3 hours depending on temperature so I thought it would be perfect timing for when they got home from the meeting. And since my baby girl was asleep in her room because she wasn't feeling too great this recipe wound up being perfect. I was able to pop it in the oven and hang out with her while it cooked.

4 - chicken breasts
1 - can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 - can Cream of Celery Soup
1 - can water
2 - cups uncooked MINUTE rice (I would not use regular rice. I don't think it would cook well.)
1 - pkg onion soup mix
Aluminum Foil

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 hours

1. Mix both soups, water, and rice in a bowl.
2. Pour into a greased casserole dish. I used an 11X13 but a 9X13 would probably work too.
3. Lay completely thawed chicken on top of rice mixture.
4. Sprinkle onion soup mix over the top of the entire dish. (If you have picky eaters you could hide this in with the rice mix to still get the flavor.)
5. Cover with aluminum foil. (DON"T forget this step or your rice will burn.)
6. Cook on 250 for about 3 hours or 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Times vary by oven. (I actually cooked mine at 300 for 2 hours.)
7. Remove and enjoy!

This is the next day when I brought some of what was left for lunch.
*This is not the healthiest recipe with the processed soups, but there are lots of homemade recipes for these soups as well as the low-sodium versions in the grocery store if you're trying to cut back.
**Better pictures to come next time I make this. I always forget. :/

This was honestly delicious. TJ kept eating the rice right out of the dish. He even claimed it was the best rice he'd ever had. The chicken was a little more dry than I'd like, not terrible, just not juicy, so next time I will probably find a mild marinade (maybe garlic...) and let it soak overnight in the fridge. You could serve a salad and cornbread with this if you wanted more but for us just the dish was good.

I was told to definitely leave this as a good recipe in the box since when we aren't fond of something we just toss the recipe so we don't use it again. We had some Halloween candy for dessert then hung out with the kids and furbabies in front of the first fire we've made in our new house.
I am in LOVE with this fireplace. 
Roscoe just kept staring at it like it was going to get him. He's a big ol' fraidy cat.
Hope everyone enjoyed their night as much as I did and that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did if you try it.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas

I have FINALLY found a recipe that everyone in the family loves equally. I actually want to make it again already even though it's not on my menu planner. It wasn't hard to make even though it was my first time making pan fried chicken. I could do it again in 20 minutes even though the first time took closer to an hour because I hadn't done it before. Trial and error, right?

List of ingredients I used:
4 chicken breasts
10 flour tortillas
Shredded Nacho Cheese (the mixed kind)
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
Sour Cream
10 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive Oil

More Ingredients I would've used if my kids weren't so picky:
Chopped Onions
Chopped Peppers
Chopped Tomatoes
Pico de Gallo

That list of ingredients looks scary, but it's not I promise. These are still really quick. Next time I make some I'll take pictures. 

Instructions (Read all the way down if you're adding ingredients):
1. Get all your ingredients you want in your tortillas out and accessible.
2. Put a teaspoon of olive oil into skillet on high heat. Let it sizzle then turn heat to med-high depending on thickness of chicken.
3. Add chicken to pan. Sprinkle with light taco seasoning for flavor. Let it cook on one side about 4 minutes depending on thickness, then flip and cook 4 minutes on the other side. I cut mine through the middle to see if it was done.
4. Remove chicken and dice or shred. I diced because it was quicker. Set aside.
5. If you're adding ingredients you need to saute your onions, peppers, and whatever else you want now so they'll be ready. Just put one more tbsp of olive oil in the pan you already used and cook until they brown a little.
6. After Step 5 is done, in a different skillet heat one tbsp of butter until it is sizzling. I set mine on 9 on my electric stove which goes to 11.
7. Lay one tortilla onto the sizzling butter. Watch it because this is when you'll start moving quickly.
8. Sprinkle cheese onto the tortilla then add chicken. Layer other ingredients as you wish, add more cheese on top, then lay another tortilla over it. 
9. It's time to flip if the bottom tortilla has browned. This s the tricky part. I used the widest spatula I had. Pick up the tortilla, use your other hand to put another tbsp of butter in the pan, let it sizzle for a second, then flip and drop the tortilla into the skillet. It's easier than it sounds because the cheese melts and kind of holds everything together.
10. Let the 2nd side brown, remove, and serve.

***If you're adding ingredients other than the basic ones I used, between Step 4 and 5 you need to saute your onions, peppers, and whatever else you want so they'll be ready.

I cut ours into 4 pieces each and served with Spanish rice and sour cream to dip them in. (We're sour cream junkies.) One quesadilla filled us up, including the hubby who is a bottomless pit. Both kids devoured them and B asked if we could have them again the next night. Since he is the pickiest kid ever that makes it a huge kitchen victory for me. If you try them I hope you emjoy them as much as we did.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Camping Like a Pro

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post. Things have been CRAZY at my house with traveling, festivals, moving, and everyday life. This weekend will be another busy one as well. We are going on my sons annual family Cub Scout camping trip.
My little Cub Scout trying on his uniform. He's 8 but he's so tiny. Still, isn't he adorable?

Ready for his 1st pack meeting in full gear. He really loves it.

I am really looking forward to it, just not the preparing for it. I decided to make myself a checklist for camping supplies. I'll admit I basically can't function without a list. I feel so frazzled, like I'm forgetting 110% of the things I should be taking with me. Anyway, this post is short and sweet. My checklist is here. Maybe if you need a good camping checklist split into categories it'll work for you. I already feel better about going home and getting all of it together.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tension Rod Bakeware Storage

One day I PROMISE I will stop taking pictures with my phone and use a better camera. When I get it unpacked. 

I know I am not the only person who pulls out half of their pans to get to the one they need on the bottom. This is so frustrating. I have honestly decided not to cook certain things because the dishes were too much of a pain to get to. This is what I'm working with.

Left side of my bakeware cabinet.
Right side of my bakeware cabinet.
 I do have a few things that won't fit in here, but these are the main ones I use so I keep the others in a different cabinet. Isn't that a disgusting mess? Ugh. Since we're in the process of setting up the kitchen right now, I decided I would get this under control before we even got moved in. I just couldn't stand looking at it. I had seen an idea on Pinterest where someone (sorry I don't know who!) had used tension rods to separate their pots and pans. Since this makes it adjustable I decided it would be the best route for me to go. I found the best fit for me for the best price at Lowe's. I bought 10 to start off with. I will need more, but not for this particular cabinet and since we're unpacking I didn't want to have to store extras. We'll be making lots of trips to Lowe's soon so it's not a big deal. I set them up one at at time with specific widths for specific items. The original idea I saw used 2 rods per separation but one worked fine for me and cut my price in half. All I had to go was push them into place.

After I got my rods set up, I put my dishes back in. It looks SO much better and is much more manageable. Even my husband who is very helpful but doesn't care a thing about the kitchen was happy with it. I made sure to put my shorter things on one side so that I would have a little room in the front for a couple of extra dishes that didn't fit anywhere else.
Pulling things out without having to pull everything out is a win.
This project was a total success and will be repeated in other cabinets soon. It took me about an hour to completely finish this cabinet. It cost me less than $20 which was much cheaper than the expensive dividers I had originally been looking at.

8  - 18in-28in tension rods  - $2.27 each

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