Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thoughts of a random Tuesday night...

So I'm a little disappointed in the turnout of Mom Friendly Meals Monday, but the fact of the matter is it's really my own fault. Getting comments and exposure to your blog takes time and effort, and I don't have much of either this week-at least for blogging.
Monday, I worked an absurdly slow shift at work. The kinda of shift where, even though I hardly exerted myself AT ALL, I was still somehow dragging at the end of the day. Then I came home to watch an epic Monday Night Football game (Go Bears!) which, I fell asleep 10 minutes before the game ended. And then today after working a long day shift, I came home to enjoy my time with Jack before he went to bed and then the Hubs and I caught up on some more DVR'd shows.  But now I find myself unable to fall asleep, and since Working Mom Wednesday prompts aren't up yet, you get this. The randomness that fills my head before I lay it down on the pillow for the night.
Here's what I'm thinking about...
*We really need to go shopping for a new dishwasher tomorrow. Our's is pretty much crapped out and I am not keen on the idea of hand washing the dishes.
*I need to start working on the invitations for Jack's 1st birthday party. I am attempting to make them myself. I'll let you all know how that all works out....
*I really want to watch my DVR'd episode of Glee after I finish this post but I don't think I can stay awake that much longer.
*I need to learn more about how to use Twitter and social media to promote this blog but I have no idea where to find this info, simply stated. I know Julia over at Work, Wife, Mom, Life posted a great article on this that linked up to some good places, but I feel like I am in need of a Twitter for Dummies book or something...
*I am really excited for an upcoming giveaway I have.

Random I know, but at least I warned you in the title. Nighty Night!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mom Friendly Meals Monday: You'll never look at chicken the same way again...

Most mom's know and love their slow cookers. I had just gotten a new one for Christmas 2 years ago when I found this recipe. After some poking around it seems there are many variations of this dish floating around the inter-webs, even one that Paula Deen herself cooked up. But this is the only one I've ever tried and I love it! (and I have a little secret for those of you that don't want to go the slow cooker route.)
Cream Cheese Chicken

3 lbs chicken pieces -I usually just use 3-4 boneless skinless breasts.
1 (2/3 ox) package Italian salad dressing mix
4 tablespoons melter butter, divided. (2 go in with the chicken in crock pot. 2 are for later when you saute the garlic and onions.
1 small onion chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth

*Place Chicken in crock pot and sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken pieces. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons melted butter
*Cook on low for 4-6 hours
*Shred the chicken
*Melt 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan and saute onion and garlic.
*Add cream of chicken soup, cream cheese,chicken broth and sauteed garlic and onion to the crock pot with the shredded chicken. Stir until smooth.
*Cook on low for an additional hour or until heated thru.

I think it's best served over egg noodles, but I am sure any noodles would do.

Now here's my little secret...
I love my slow cooker, but I'm also not adventurous enough to leave it on while I'm at work all day. I know millions of people do and its fine, but I just can't do it. I'd spend all day wondering if there were some freak electrical fire caused by my crock pot. So on days when I have a craving for this, but don't feel like waiting all day for it, here's what I do:
I stop at my local grocery store on the way home from work and I buy a rotisserie chicken. When I get home, I saute the garlic and onions while I shred the chicken. Then I add the chicken and everything else the recipe calls for into the same skillet, heat thru and serve it up! Same result- in half the time!

I love rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. They are great to pick up when you want chicken but don't feel like going thru the work of cooking the it yourself. And the possibilities are endless!! Sometimes we shred the chicken, add BBQ sauce and serve on croissants or biscuits with some cole slaw. Or we add it to a pre-made pizza crust with some BBQ sauce and grilled onions with Ched/Jack cheese. We've even added it to Mac and Cheese. Throw in a little frozen broccoli and bake with some Frenches Fried Onions or crumbled Ritz crackers on top and you have a great quick and easy casserole. Because it's really just the two of eating, there is usually even enough chicken left over for chicken salad the next day.

So get out your best recipe and link up! Each week we are getting more recipes linked up and it makes me so happy!! I'm going to try my best to join a few blog hops today to spread the word, but Jack is so far having a rough night getting to sleep and I have to work a day shift. If you all could help by adding the Mom Friendly Meals button somewhere on your blog, it would make my day. The more people that stop by and link up, the more recipes we'll all get to add to our weekly menus!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm Baaaaack!

Thanks to the Hubs hard work yesterday we are back up and running!
I tried my best to catch up on as many things as I could, but I have a little confession to make...being without my computer for a few days was actually relaxing. (a little scary at times-but for the most part relaxing)
Which is why this post form Julia over at Work, Wife, Mom...Life really resonated with me.
Sometimes I find myself caught in an internal battle over this blog. On the one hand, I started it as a creative outlet because I love to write and thought it would be fun- even if no one read it. But on the other hand, I secretly hoped people would love it. I hoped that someday I could make my living by just sitting at my computer and sharing my thoughts with the world. That I would have 1000's of followers. People would leave long & meaningful comments on my posts. Vendors would be banging down my door to review their products and host giveaways.
But getting to that point is hard least a lot harder than I thought it would be. True, there are some bloggers that are lucky enough to just have that certain "Je ne sais quoi" that makes people flock to them. But most successful bloggers work hard to build their blog. By participating in Blog hops and posting on blogging communities. By visiting 100's+ blogs everyday and commenting. But sometimes in the process, their blogs become more about followers and advertising and less about "them" (or whatever else they started blogging about)
So where am I on all this?
Well, like my actual life, I hope to find a balance. Yes, I would love to have more followers. I would love to have some sweet giveaways here and there to reward my awesome readers. (and I do have a few coming up!) I would love to guest blog and host some guest blogger's. And sure I wouldn't mind a few people paying me to advertise their product on my blog- if I felt it was a product that could benefit my readers.
But I am also OK with who I am as a blogger right now.
I've "met" some pretty great people blogging. People who visit my blog every post regardless of how "big" I am in the blogging community. People that don't mind my sarcasm, some times skewed logic, or my overuse of ...
There are even people that give me awards. Like Reluctant Writer over at Pacifier's, Pumps, The World who gave me this (Thanks!!):

According to the rules I have to tell you 7 things about myself and then pass this award on to 10 other bloggers. So here you go:

1.) I am currently in the middle of 3 different books. I have this horrible habit of starting one, reading a little bit, forgetting about it and starting a new one.
2.) I take my pills opposite of the way normal people do-at least that's what my husband says. I put the water in my mouth and then swallow the pill.
3.) Unless it is actually crawling on me, I will not kill a spider in the house. I think they are good luck.
4.) I can hyper-extend my elbows
5.) I hate cleaning baby bottles
6.) I don't use soap to wash my face, I just rinse it with water. I used to have really bad skin and since doing this, I now rarely get a break out.
7.) I like to sometimes talk in accents and I thinks lisps are cool.

Here are the bloggers I am passing this award on to. Check them all out!

Taming Insanity

Hope you all have a great weekend. I still have some catching up on my DVR before we can talk new shows. And come back Monday for Mom Friendly Meals Monday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We are now experiencing technical difficulties...

So I woke up this morning to check on the in's and out's of blog land when I realized the horror... the computer would not turn on.
After the husband took a look at it he thinks it may be a power pack problem. Totally fixable with minimal damage to stored information or our wallets. The bad news is Kev can't fix it for a few days, so I'm unplugged for the most part. I do have my iPhone to helpe stay a little connected but I get a headache looking at the little screen for too long. I hope to be back by Friday so I can talk about the new fall shows with you all. Until then check out Last Splash's blog (link in my blogroll).She is having an awesome giveaway.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Recap of the best weekend ever!

I know what you are thinking...2 posts in one day? (ok, I'm sure no one is really thinking that, but I like to think I have more loyal followers than I actually do) I didn't want to take away from Mom Friendly Meals Monday with a combined post, so I decided to add a separate post so I could gloat-ahem-tell you about my amazing weekend.

Friday night was my 5 year wedding anniversary. I worked a brutal shift on Thursday night and when I got home at 1 am there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers, my favorite truffles and a card with such beautiful words written inside, I cried tears of happiness. After a great nights sleep we got up, played with Jack for a few hours and then, after dropping him off at grandma's for the night, headed to the city. For our anniversary we got tickets to see Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews at Wrigley Field, so we headed down early so we could beat the rush hours traffic. It was a beautiful day in the city. Perfect Fall weather. Warm enough to sit outside with out a jacket, but cool enough that you bring one, just in case!

After parking the car we walked around and tried to figure out where we wanted to go for some beers when we spotted the Uberstein Wrigleyville. The Uberstein is a Hofbrauhaus restaurant/bar and all their beer is imported straight from the original Hofbrauhaus in Munich. We have been to another location in Kentucky and loved it, so we were excited to see one in our own backyard. We stopped in and had a few Hefe Weizen's in the beer garden. It was nice to sit, people watch, and have some meaningful conversations. While we talked about Jack here and there, I was surprised to find that we actually were able to talk about lots of other things other than life as parents. Sitting there enjoying each others company, took me back. It reminded me of all the wonderful things that made me marry the man sitting across from me. And it made me giddy inside, knowing that we still had "it". We were still so much in love.

After we finished our Hefe's, we went next door to Lucky's sandwich company. You may have seen them on Man vs Food...they have these incredible sandwiches that I have been meaning to get my hands on for years. ( For what it's worth, we don't venture into the city all that often) This sandwich has it all-literally. Pastrami, cheese, tomatoes, fresh cut french fries and coleslaw. After out yummy sandwich and a few more pints, we headed out to walk to the concert. We enjoyed a few more cocktails at The Captain Morgan Club attached to Wrigley Field and met up with a few friends that were also there.  Despite being a tad disappointed that Jason Mraz didn't play a longer set, the concert was AMAZING!

Also amazing-getting to sleep in Saturday morning. Once you become a parent you realize the true value of being able to sleep in-uninterrupted. We managed to slip in a quick lunch a PF Changes-yum...lettuce wraps-before my mom brought Jack home. The rest of the weekend was quiet & relaxing. Sunday morning we all put on our Bears gear and laid around for a lazy football Sunday. We noshed on Buffalo Chicken Dip and Pizza and watched Jack run around in his saggy Bears jersey, chasing after his football.

I wish it didn't have to end and that every weekend could be as sweet, but at least I'll have the memory of this one to last me a lifetime!

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Welcome all visitors from Monday Blog Hops!
mingle mondays button

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mom Friendly Meals Monday: Cheesy things

Thank you to everyone that participated last Monday. My hope is that each week more and more of you participate so we can share as many recipes with each other as possible! I was feeling a little tech-savvy last week and decided to make a button so please feel free to grab the MFMM button and add it to your page:

Like the button? Visit for other great images!!

So now onto to the meals...
Lately I have had a borderline obsession with grilled cheese sandwiches. Now that Jack is eating more solids and real people food, we have been giving him bits of grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. I was never really a big fan of grilled cheese, but one day I found myself finishing the half he didn't eat . I enjoyed it, but chalked it up to extreme hunger. Until I was craving another one hours later. And thus the obsession began.

Grilled Cheese sandwiches are a great go-to dinner because they are something the whole family can eat.
I make Jack's the real quick and easy -or some would say lazy-way. I toast 2 slices of bread, add 2 slices of American cheese to them and pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds. For older kids, you can do the same thing but cut them into sticks. Give them some tomato soup or even a little spaghetti sauce and let them dip the "cheese sticks" in them.

As for the adults, there are plenty of ways to turn the basic grilled cheese into a more mature, and filling, sandwich. I've been experimenting-thank you Facebook friends- this past week and here are some of my favorites:

-White Bread, American Cheese and Tomato (if you really want to make this amazing try it on Texas Garlic Toast-it's EPIC)
-Sourdough bread, Munster and Colby Cheese, 
grilled onions. (I also tried adding sliced honeycrisp apple to this sandwich which was delish)
-Sourdough bread, Colby and Provolone, Turkey Bacon and Avocado.

Here are a few tricks I've learned too:
-try swapping out butter for Miracle gives the sandwich a little zip. Just be careful to not use too much because it can make for a soggy sandwich.
-Add a little olive oil to the pan. It add's a nice little crunch to your sandwich.
-cook slow and low...reduces the chance of burning the bread,.

Don't be afraid to experiment and add things that you like. No one says that a grilled cheese has to be boring!

Enjoy your sandwich alone or add a side to really make it a meal. Some great grilled cheese accompaniments include:
-Tomato soup-the good old standby...but any soup will do.
-Chili-we always make a big batch and freeze it. It's easy to thaw for a quick dinner!
-Sweet potato fries. (Most major grocery stores sell them now, or you can make your own by slicing up some sweet potatoes and baking them)
-Mac and Cheese.
-A nice salad

Welcome all visitors from any of Monday's blog hops! I hope you can link up and share with us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Then Came Marriage-Part 2

I would be lying if I said I didn't see a proposal coming. I just didn't know when it was coming. And though I must admit I am usually hard to surprise, I didn't see it coming when it finally did. Christmas Eve 2003 Kevin and I were getting ready to make the rounds. We had and still have a tradition. On Christmas Eve we open one gift from each other and we open the rest on Christmas day. We each picked the gift we wanted to open and sat in the couch. As I opened my present I started to was a small stuffed cow. (remember what I told you to remember form yesterday's post?) But when I looked up I saw Kevin kneeling before me and then put it all together. That's when I saw the beautiful princess cut diamond hanging from the cows neck. My eyes welled up almost immediately and while I wish I could remember exactly what Kevin said, all I know is I felt like I was floating on air. After I said yes and I composed myself I asked him what he would have done if I picked a different present. He replied, "I just knew you'd pick the right one."

And I did. On so many levels.

On September 17th 2005, I married my best friend.

In the midst of planning our wedding, there was a lot of opportunities for doubt to creep in. Marriages around me, including my own parents, were falling apart left and right. Couples that had been married for 20-30 years were suddenly calling it quits. There were days I wondered how they got there. Surely they were blissfully happy like us at some point. What made them decided to walk away from it all 20+ years later?? I thought about those things from time to time, but I refused to let the "what ifs" consume me. This marriage is about Kevin and I and nobody else. The successes and failures of other relationships have nothing to do with ours.
So here we are 5 years later.
And aside from the addition to our family, I can't say much has changed. Sure we have our moments, but we try not to let the little things add up to big things. We try to find time to cuddle, even if we can barely stay awake. And when we kiss I still feel butterfly's.
Sure there are sometime moments when I want to strangle him, but they are few and far between.
Over all I feel overwhelmingly lucky.
Lucky that I can laugh with my best friend every day
Lucky that we can sit and silence and be comfortable. That we can communicate without saying a word.
Lucky that I can always count on him to clean the bottles because I hate to. And he can count on me to clean the bathroom.
Lucky that he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world every. single. day.

At 5 years I know we haven't even come close to reaching the "meat" of our relationship. I know that there are no doubt more hurdles in our future. I know that our relationship will probably be tested in ways we can't even imagine. How will it all play out? I can't say. I'm not naive enough to think I can predict the future. All I can do is focus on the here and now...and try my best to savor every single second of it.

Tonight for our Anniversary we are going to see Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews at Wrigley Field.
I'm am hoping Jason will play "Lucky" for me!!

The final to this saga is coming in November. You don't want to miss "And then came the Baby in the baby carriage" .

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Then Came Marriage part 1

So now that we're all up to speed on the Love part, let's get into the nitty gritty.
On the eve of my 5th Anniversary it's only fitting that we talk Marriage and the events leading up to it.

Kevin and I began talking about our future immediately. Kind of. I think in a weird way we were both in tuned to the relationship and where it was headed but decided against any formal discussions about it at the time. Instead we'd talk in hypotheticals.  Like, "I would love to honeymoon there" or "When we get married..." At the time we were living together and working together, so the sheer fact that we had not killed each other yet gave me confidence in our relationship. That and the fact that it seemed effortless. We truly enjoyed being together.
In 2002 we decided to move out of Kevin's parent's basement and into a place of our own. We didn't look long before we found our townhouse. A dream starter house. I was ok with getting a house before getting engaged because I knew eventually it would happen. We both did. It was our friends and family that were getting restless. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked us when we were getting married, I could have single-handily paid for our wedding. And Kevin, ever the jokester, like to fuel the fire by telling everyone that asked, "Why buy the milk, when you can get the milk for free." ( pay attention'll need to remember that part.)
In the next year we traveled, worked, had fun and were still content in our relationship and its status. And the summer of 2003, I landed an amazing job. Except that it meant spending the summer in NYC. I know some of you are thinking, "That's awesome, how could you not be psyched about that.", and I was for the most part. But at that point the thought of spending 3 months away from Kevin made my heart hurt. But I knew it was an amazing opportunity that would benefit us in the long run. So with a heavy heart I boarded a plane that July and flew 1000's of miles away. My first day in New York I cried for what felt like all day. And then when I thought I was done crying, I started unpacking my suitcase and found a framed picture of us in my suitcase with a card telling me how much he loved me and would miss me. Those 3 months felt like an eternity. Even with a few weekend visits here and there.
I came home in September, and when I did, things felt different. But in a good way. There was a sense of accomplishment that we survived our first major relationship hurdle. A new sense of appreciation for each other, a more mature love.
I found out later that while I was in NY, Kevin was busy doing some shopping. For a ring. That would eventually lead to a proposal.
But you are going to have to come back tomorrow for that story, because I love me a good cliffhanger!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Julia over at Work, Wife, Mom...Life has 2 wonderful Wednesday prompts today:
1.) Your Life in Pictures
2.) Single working life vs. working life as a mom

I really really really want to do the first one, but unfortunately I work a double today so I am squeezing this post in between getting ready for work and Jack's morning nap.

So I'll save the first post for another day and move on to question 2.

Working pre-baby life was MUCH different than it is now. Pre-Jack I worked full time as a retail manager for H&M. I started in 2003 as a merchandiser there and worked my way up to management in the 6 years I was there. It was a stressful job with a long commute but I thrived on the chaos and stress. My schedule was not consistent- I worked some nights, then days, some mid shifts. I really had to plan my life carefully and Kev and I had to coordinate our schedules monthly to see where we could make plans. My favorite shift was a morning shift, mostly because I has the best routine for that shift. I woke at 4:30 am most days I worked mornings, because I work an hour away and traffic was brutal if I left my house any later than 5:30. So after I got ready for work, I got in the car and listened to my favorite morning radio show, The Eric and Kathy Show on 101.9FM.  Then I would stop at Starbucks for my usual Grande Iced Toffee Nut Latte-no whip. Usually I got to work at least 15 minutes early so I would either stop for a breakfast and eat in my car or sit at Starbucks by work and read the RedEye. On the way home, I usually set up my blue tooth and made my phone calls while I sat in traffic.

Life now is very different, mostly because I don't work that job anymore. I miss some of it. Things like that morning routine, the great vacation and personal days I had there, and of course, the pay. But my part time job has it's perks too. I am fortunate to have a job that is pretty flexible with my schedule which allows me maximum time with Jack and Kevin. And if I want to work more I can usually pick up an extra shift or two.
Plus my commute is a cool 8 minutes-10 if I hit all the red lights. I don't start early enough to listen to Eric and Kathy, but I do still stop at the Starbucks on the way for my Toffee Nut Latte!

I hear my little boy stirring so it's time for me to get him and finish getting ready!

Please come back and visit tomorrow for part 2 of this post.
And get your best quick and easy recipe ready for Mom Friendly Meals Monday. I debuted it on Monday and I'm hoping for more entries this Monday. I even got fancy and made a button for it:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Fall Shows and some hopping...

There are lots of reasons to get excited for Fall. But one of my favorites is new Fall TV. Besides all the returning shows, there are always a crop of new shows ready to be reviewed. Most don't make it, but I love to watch them and try and predict which ones I think will make it. Here are the ones I am excited for...


"Better With You": Premieres 9/22 8:30/7:30pm C
A sitcom about the relationships among three couples from one family. They include an unmarried pair who've lived together for nine years and the woman's parents, a longtime married duo. Featuring Joanna Garcia ( from Reba) and Jennifer Finnigan (from That 70's show and as I know her, Alice, Phoebe's brothers wife on Friends!) It will fill the time slot before Modern Family, so if it's as strong a comedy as the other Wednesday night shows, ABC should have a pretty strong line-up.

"My Generation": Premiere Date: Thursday, Sept. 23 8/7pm C

Stars: Jaime King, Julian Morris, Keir O’Donnell, Michael Stahl-David
Synopsis: What a difference 10 years can make. In 2000, a documentary crew follows a disparate group of high schoolers from Greenbelt High School in Austin, TX as they prepare for graduation. Jump ahead to 2010 and these former classmates have returned home to rediscover that just because they’re not where they planned to be doesn’t mean they’re not right where they need to be. I'm a sucker for these reunion types of shows, so we'll see if this one can live up to all the hype.

"The Whole Truth" Premiere Date: Wednesday, Sept. 22 9/10pm C
Stars: Rob Morrow, Maura Tierney, Eamonn Walker
Synopsis: This legal drama from executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer follows friends and rival lawyers Kathryn Peale (Tierney) and Jimmy Brogan (Morrow) as they show each side of a case equally. It keeps the audience guessing, shifting allegiances and opinions on guilt or innocence until the final scene. Seems like an interesting concept that hopefully will be as intriguing as it sounds.

"No Ordinary Family": Premiere Date: Tuesday, Sept. 28 7/8pm C
Starring Michael Chiklis (The Shield) and Julie Benz (fabulous as Rita in Dexter) this show is about a family who gains superpowers after their plane crashes in the Amazon River. Think "Hero's but less complex and confusing and more family friendly.

Body of Proof is a new drama about a medical examiner that also looks promising . It stars Dana Delaney, Jeri Ryan and what I believe is the guy from the Miller High Life commercials. There is no premier date for it yet.
Mr. Sunshine, starring Matthew Perry and Allsion Janey, centers on a San Diego sports arena manager who goes through a mid-life crisis when he turns 40. This is expected to be a mid fall addition.


"The Defenders" : Premirers 9/22 at 10/9pm C
Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell play defense attorneys in Las Vegas. If they can find the right balence of drama and comedy, this may be one of the Fall's best new shows. I'm rooting for Jerry O'Connell who has had a tough time finding a good show.

$#*! My Dad Says: 9/23 at 8:30/7:30 pm C
Based on Justin Halpern's popular Twitter feed about the outrageous observations of his politically incorrect father, the show stars William Shatner as the grumpy dad. He invites his son (Jonathan Sadowski) to move back home after the young man loses his job as a writer for a men's magazine.

"Blue Bloods": 9/24 at 10/9 pm C
With an all star cast, Tome Selleck, Bridget Moynahan,Will Estes and Donnie Wahlberg, this New York crime drama focusing on a multigenerational family of cops headed by the city's police commissioner looks compelling. But with a Friday night time slot, it may not gain the viewers it needs to be a hit.


NBC showed nothing too promising to me. My husband is excited about the premier of "The Event", which looks ok, but I am reluctant to get into it. We got into "Flashforward" last year only to be disappointed and left hanging when it got canceled. "Outsourced" seems like it could be funny and a good way to round out NBC's Thursday night of Comedies, but I'm just not all that excited about it.  "Love Bites" starring Becki Newton formerly of Ugly Betty and Greg Grunberg of Hero's,  was originally set to premier in the fall but was pulled last minute due to some writing changes and character problems. It is tentatively set to air mid season after The Apprentice. If it can pull itself together, it promises to be a cute show.

CW's "Hellcats" intrigues me as does "LoneStar" on Fox. And two new comedies on FOX, "Raising Hope" and "Running Wilde" premiere 9/21 after "Glee". I have my DVR set to record both!

Which shows are you looking forward to?

Check back for reviews on all the upcoming shows!


Also this week: Check back Thursday and Friday for "Then Came Marriage" Part 2 of this post.

And get your best recipes ready and meet back on Monday for Mom Friendly Meals Monday. I made a button for it, so be sure and grab it! The link is above my blog roll on the upper right hand corner of my post!

Today Kevin and I have off together! While he takes a nap with Jack, I'm checking out a few blog hops.

LittleYayasTo-the-TOP Tuesday

If you are visiting from one, please drop me a note and say hi! And if you like what you see, please vote for me on:

Have a great week!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mom Friendly Meals Monday- Saucy Honey Mustard Chicken

We'll see if this in fact becomes a weekly installment. I'm hoping it will, but I'm not always the most consistent blogger.

Even before we had Jack, I was always on the look out for quick and easy meals. So I'd like to share some with all of you in hopes that you'll share some with me.
So here's the idea:
Make a post with one of your favorite Quick and Easy Meals and link up below. Then visit your fellow bloggers and check out their recipes!

Here's mine. I got it from the KraftFoods recipe iPhone app. I used to get their Food and Family magazine every season, but recently they started charging for it, so now I just browse the website every once in awhile.
We tried this tasty recipe for dinner a few weeks ago and again last night for dinner. It beat out my old Honey Mustard Chicken recipe because it has way more flavor and takes half the time!

Saucy Honey Mustard Chicken

1 Tbsp. Oil
4 small Boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1/4 cup Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
2 Tbsp Honey Mustard  ( I actually use Grey Poupon and then just add a little extra honey)
1 Tbsp. Honey

HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cover. Cook 5 to 6 min. on each side or until chicken is cooked through (165°F).
MIX remaining ingredients; spoon over chicken.
COOK 2 min. or until sauce is heated through, stirring occasionally.

Calories: 270 For the rest of the nutritional information go here.

Add some rice or  mashed potatoes and some veggies and you have a healthy, tasty meal on the table in 25 minutes!

So add your recipes here! I can't wait to check them all out!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you??

I still remember this day, 9 years ago, like it was today. I was in my college apartment and had just woken up and turned on the TV.  Every station was showing footage of the WTC. At that time reports were that there was a "fire", some channels not even aware that a plane had crashed into the tower. My roommates and I were glued to the TV as we got ready for our morning classes, and watched as the details of the day unfolded. As reports of terrorism and hijacking started pouring in. I remember being on the phone with my now husband when the 2nd plane hit. I remember thinking, before it hit the tower, that it was a rescue plane of some sort. And then I watched in horror as it hit the tower. I remember not going to class. And sitting with my roommates thru the day as we watched the towers fall.  As we watched the Pentagon get hit, and reports of other planes being hijacked. Even though I had no personal ties to the WTC, I couldn't help but feel sad for all the people that lost their lives. Their families. And I remember feeling fear and vulnerability... never before in this country, had we felt such a vicious attack. Was there more to come?

As the day was unfolded, I knew that the world would never be the same after that day...

3 years later, I was working in New York City for the summer. One day I went to the WTC site to see it for myself. I had no idea that I would be moved the way I was. You can't visit that site, and see that wreckage, and not be moved to emotion. At that time most of the wreckage still there.

Like this piece of what was left of Tower 2,
that fell in the shape of a cross:

What really got to me was the notes written and left on all the barricades surrounding the wreckage. Some love letters written to lost loved ones, some pictures, flowers. Even a few notes still searching, hoping there love ones were still out there.
And then we visited a church across the street. A church that at the time of 9/11 was a refuge for the firefighters and rescue personnel that was busy working day and night searching for survivors. It had been turned into a museum of sorts and  housed the pictures and memorabilia from those days at ground zero.

I will never forget where I was on September 11, 2001. How it forever changed the world as we know it. My heart goes out to all the people that lost loved ones that day. It also goes out to all the men and women that have fought for us since that day.
I look at my son, Jack, who will only know of 9/11 from what he reads in his history books. I imagine someday he will come home from school and ask me about it. Ask me where I was and what I did. And I pray that he will never have to endure a tragedy of this magnitude in his lifetime...

Where were you on 9/11/01? What did you think/do/feel?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Today is going to be a great day

Because today this little bugger is 10 months old!

And it's the official start of Football season!

I have to work tonight, which isn't ideal because I would rather stay home with Jack and Kev and watch the game.  At least we should be busy at work tonight, so hopefully I can make some good money!

Hope you all have a great day too!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Not such a clever title for this post. But it's 5 am here and I am up because my allergies are so bad I can't sleep, so I really am not feeling "it" right now. Nonetheless, that is what I love about Working Mom Wednesday's... I don't have to think so much.

Here are today's questions:

What do you consider necessary to get through the day? (items, routines, coffee, etc.)
Right now I need a cocktail of allergy medicines just to function thru the day. I broke down yesterday and went to one of those Take Care clinics in a Walgreen's, and let me tell you, those things are great. I was in and out in a half an hour! I think I actually waited longer for my prescriptions to be filled .
But back to the question- other than that I can't really say I NEED anything to get thru the day. I'm not a huge coffee person, though I do tend to stop at Starbucks for a Grande Iced Toffee Nut latte if I work a morning shift. Not out of need, but because they are super tasty! I guess if I had to pick one thing it would be lip gloss, more specifically, Burts Bees pomegranate. And not to be super corny or cheesy but- a kiss from my husband and snuggles from Jack.

What do you do on your commute to work - listen to the radio, enjoy peace and quiet, etc.
At my old job my commute was an hour plus. So my morning commute consisted of Starbucks and listening to my favorite radio morning talk show. The ride home was listening to the radio/iPod and catching up on missed calls. Now I thankfully only have a 10 minute ride to work, so I usually just listen to the radio!

So there are my answers... Now I have 2 questions of my own! ( well 3 technically)
 Does anyone know how to merge to Blogger Blog's. I want to merge this blog with my Mama Insomnia Blog, because I want to go by that name from now on. Is there a way to merge this one into that without losing all my followers, etc.?
Provided I can merge the 2, I was looking into giving Mama Insomnia a little face lift. Does anyone have any tips/tricks for sprucing up your blog. I know the basics, like getting new layouts and backgrounds from sites like Shabby Blogs, but other than that I am lost. Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
And last but not least, I decided to join a blog community in hopes of meeting new blogger's and gaining more readers. I'm just getting started so if you like what you see here please click on the button below (or to the left) and vote for me! Thanks!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

This is my confession

I have baby fever.

When Kev and I decided it was time for kids the plan-and I use that term loosely-was after Jack was born we'd wait until right before his first birthday to try for #2. Then we had Jack and decided to push it back a year. And now...I find myself wanting to back to plan A.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was pulling out my maternity clothes to lend to a friend. As I was packing them up for her, I felt strangely nostalgic. I wouldn't go as far as some women and say I LOVE being pregnant, but aside from the first trimester morning sickness, the rest wasn't so bad.
And now I can't stop thinking about adding to the family.
But it's no small matter, so I've had a lot on my mind lately.
On one hand, I still want to enjoy more time with just Jack. I worry about what the stress of adding another baby to the mix will do to our family dynamic. Kev and I have had it pretty easy with Jack. While having him has put the usual stresses on us as a couple, I think we have faired pretty well as parents thus far. But I worry about how another baby will change that. Especially if this next baby isn't as "easy" as Jack has been.

Other worries: money. Since I quit my full time job after Jack was born we don't have as much coming in. Especially because my part time job is serving, which means that the money flow week to week is inconsistent. And I don't have paid maternity leave this time around, so any time I take off is unpaid. Of course I also worry about things like, having trouble conceiving again, facing another miscarriage and overall the ease of another pregnancy. I was lucky the first time around. The constant nausea I felt the first 3 months was over all the only "bad" part of my pregnancy. (That and being 2 weeks overdue, but that wont be a problem this time around. The C-section will be scheduled!)
I know that most of my worry comes from the fact that I am so scared that this happy little bubble will burst someday Sometimes I also like to think that if I can envision all the things that may go wrong, I can prevent them from actually happening. Or at least prepare myself for them. It's a little like Charlotte from the first Sex and the City movie. One of my favorite scenes -besides the one where she poops her pantsis the one where Charlotte stops running because she is afraid something will go wrong with her pregnancy.
Carrie Bradshaw: What makes you think something bad is gonna happen?
Charlotte York: Because! Nobody gets everything they want! Look at you, look at Miranda. You're good people and you two both got shafted. I'm so happy and... something bad is going to happen.
Carrie Bradshaw: Sweetie, you shit your pants this year. I think you're done.

I realize that I can not let fear and worry rule my life. I know that I cannot control the future and that for as much struggle as I may face, I will also experience more incredible joy. So I'm trying to look at all the good things a new baby will bring: The idea that Jack will have another little someone to play with. I can't wait to see him be the amazing big brother that he is going to be. I also want to have another baby soon, because I want to be done having kids while I am still young enough to enjoy them. So I can keep up with them!

Obviously, I haven't made my mind up yet. I still I need to mull over this one for a few more days. Until then I have a question for all you mom's out there:

If you have more than 1: After your first, how did you know it was time for #2?
If you only have 1: When do you think you will go for #2

I always like to meet new people, so feel free to answer in a comment or use this question as inspiration for a blog post. This is my first try at using an link tool, so hopefully it works!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just for fun

When I have some free time, one thing I like to do is check out some other blogs and connect with other bloggers. In doing so, I've actually met some other very cool ladies all over the world. It's kinda like having a pen pal, but instead of letters you communicate via blog posts. So tonight, while Jack is asleep and Kevin's at work, I thought I'd relax by the computer with some vino and hop around some blogs. I checked out MannLand5 and Keely's hosted a "under the sea" Getting to know you post, so I thought I'd join in the fun!!

1. Do you like seafood? Yes, all of it.

2. Are mermaids hot? Most I've seen are-minus the girls that dress as slutty mermaids at Halloween. Most of those are hot messes. That being said, I'm sure if mermaids really existed they would look more weird than hot. 

3. Have you swam in the ocean? Yes and I love it!

4. If you got stung by a jellyfish, would you let a stranger pee on you? That depends on the amount of pain I was in and how strange the stranger was.

5. Have you ever peed in the ocean? Yep and I'm not even sorry.

6. Can you make a cute fish face? (Show a pic..if you want) yes

7. When you see the lobster tank at the grocery store do you just have this overwhelming urge to set them free or cook them up? cook them up

8. Are you afraid of sharks? yes

Feel free to copy and link up to Keely's post.

And come back tomorrow...I have something I need some input on and could use some help!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

If you could go back...

I wasn't planning on a post today. At 6am I woke up with itchy watery eyes and a half dry, half runny nose. I HATE FALL ALLERGIES! But that's not what this post is all about. Since I couldn't sleep, I was up checking out some other blogs and found this little gem over at Goldylocks and her 3 Bears:

So if you could go back...what would you tell yourself???

I think if I could go back I would tell myself to try not to think ahead too much. Take each day as it comes and savor the moments.
In other related news, for those of you who watched the Emmy's, Jewel has released  the beautiful song she sang. It's called "Shape of You" and it is now available at iTunes or Amazon.

And Happy 9-02-10 to you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to pretend you are fancy

Here's a little recipe for you all that I tried last week. It was inspired by an appetizer from this Tapas restaurant that Kevin and I went to  The appetizer was a baked Brie with apples and all sorts of other yummy stuff to dip in it. Anyways, I've been watching a little too much Top Chef lately and was feeling a little creative so I threw together this little ditty. It's quick, easy and your friends or family will think you are super fancy. It makes for a great light lunch or, if you cut it into smaller pieces, a fabulous appetizer for your next party.

Honey Garlic Apple and Brie Pizza

Wedge of Brie Cheese (about 6-8 oz)
3 Granny Smith Apples
Honey Garlic Sauce (recipe below)
1 large pizza dough/crust ( I used a Boboli so I didn't have to bother cooking anything else!)

First prepare the Honey Garlic Sauce. This is the hardest part of the whole recipe but it is yummy and the unused sauce is great with chicken breasts and rice.
For the sauce you'll need:
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp. minced garlic
½ cup honey
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup water
3 tbsp. soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch 1 tbsp. water
•Put the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for approximately two minutes.
•Add honey, chicken broth, water, soy sauce and brown sugar. Stir until well blended.
•Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat. Allow the mixture to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
•Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and add 1 tbsp. of water. Beat with a fork until no lumps remain. Adjust the amount of water, if necessary, to completely dissolve the cornstarch. (NOTE: Add the cornstarch a little at a time. For me the sauce turned out to be a little thick, so the next time I make it I will probably use a little less cornstarch, but if you add it gradually you can adjust it to your desired thickness.)
•Whisk the cornstarch gradually into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly for 5 to 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
What it looks like pre-oven!!

Now the easy part:
Add the sauce to your pizza dough.
Thinly slice your apples and arrange on the pizza.
Break or slice the Brie and spread over the apples.
Drizzle with extra sauce if you prefer.
Bake at 375 for 15 mins or until cheese is melted and gooey!!

As for Working Mommy Wednesday's question...what is the hardest part about being a mom...I'm a little all over the place on that one. Before I became a mother I thought the hardest part would be getting no sleep and having no time to myself. But I've been blessed with a baby that slept pretty well from the get-go and I'm lucky enough to have family that actually fights over who gets to babysit.  I feel very fortunate to have had it so "easy" thus far (and terrified that my next child is going to be the devil himself/herself) but there are still things that are hard for me. Like time. How it's flying by way too fast. And how I can't seem to find enough of it. How I like working and making money but when I am away from my little boy I'm counting the seconds until I see his little smiley face.
This morning as I was putting some dishes away, Jack crawled next to me. All of a sudden I heard him say "kitty cat" and when I looked down, he was pointing at the kitty cat in his book. I just stood there in awe of my little boy and how smart he was. He amazes me everyday, even if he can now say kitty cat and Daddy but still can't say Mommy. 

side note: another hard part about being a mom is not becoming THAT mom. I wanted to run and post this accomplishment as my facebook status and tell everyone I worked with about it, but I refrained. Because I refuse to be one of those parents that gushes about my child's every accomplishment. Even if I do think he is the greatest, smartest, cutest, strongest baby that ever lived.

side, side note: I get to brag here 'cause it's my blog. If you don't like it, than suck it!

But I think the hardest part about being a mother is still yet to come. The hardest part, if I had to guess, is making sure that your children grow up with enough love, discipline, and knowledge to succeed in this world. It's teaching them respect and compassion for others. Instilling confidence in them without making them arrogant. Teaching them hard work but importance of dreaming big and always reaching for the stars.
I can only hope that as Jack gets older I'll learn as I go...and no doubt I'll make a few mistakes. But that's what life's all about!