Jun 22, 2012

Freezer Cooking

I've had several requests for recipes I use for freezer cooking.  Honestly, before Oliver and Pinterest, I never cooked to freeze - now it's how we eat!  If you follow me on Pinterest, you have all of my recipes - but if you don't, here are some of our favorites.

There are probably others I'm forgetting, I make these most frequently and other times just toss random things in a dish and bake it.  My sister and I lived together for eight years and she'd often pick on me for making up random casseroles.  I like to keep things interesting :)  Granted, they weren't all very good!

The Chicken and Wild Rice I is by far my most favorite.  Another one we like frozen is penne pasta with a jar of marinara sauce and a jar of alfredo sauce mixed and topped with mozzarella cheese.  I think there's a pin for that on my recipe board, but it's so easy there's no point in directing you to it.

For now, since Oliver eats so little, I can get two meals from each recipe.  Sometimes I'll double the recipe to have four meals.  I mainly do that with the Chicken and Wild Rice I b/c it takes a little longer to make and we all love it.  We use the small square baking foils and cover with two layers of heavy duty foil.  I normally just write what's inside along with baking instructions and the date so Chandler can pop them in the oven if I'm not home.

I normally devote an afternoon to cooking and make several things at once.  I find that it's much easier for me that way, and I like knowing I have a few weeks worth of meals.  It's also easy to coordinate ingredients that way too - for instance, today I made four recipes and three called for sauteed onions and most all had pasta.  It's just nice to be able to use and re-use pots and pans without completely overloading the dishwasher.  Every now and then I'll cook during the week, but usually I only make crock pot recipes during the week and pull out freezer meals or something else to fill in the other days.

I'm a huge fan of crock pot/slow cooker meals.  I have a handful of go-to meals for that, again, on Pinterest.

What are your favorite recipes?    

Jun 12, 2012

16 Months!

Oliver is 16 months old!

-Height: 29"
-Weight: 21 lbs
(both official as of today)
-Teeth: 10 or 12 depending on how you count them, 10 are completely in and two molars are almost in with two points out on one and three points out on the other - neither middle crown is out yet.  Perhaps that's when they officially 'count' as a tooth?  One cuspid is starting to move up and I can see the white under his gum.

-Shoe size: 4, but will probably be a 4.5 very soon.

-Clothing size: 12-18 months mostly, but still some 9-12 month sizes here and there.  He has Chandler's build so his shoulders are wide, but his waist and hips are tiny.  Thank goodness for shorts with adjustable elastic.  He really needs a 9-12 month sometimes, but I just can't bring myself to buy that size knowing he's just going to grow.
-Diapers: bumGenius 4.0 & Elementals.  When we travel, The Honest Company or 7th Generation disposables.  Lately, he's been soaking through his cloth diapers at night no matter how full I stuff them, so we're going to start using Huggies Overnights at night.  Changing sheets on a king size bed more than once/week is no fun.  

-Naps: Two nice, long ones from 9:00-11:00 AM and 2:00-? (usually between 4:00 and 5:00).  
-Words: Same as last month... with the addition of 'ball.'  Anything could be dada, but dad is 'dod' - it is really funny.  'Bitta' is a commonly heard along with lots and lots of other babble. He is really not interesting in saying new words, but I'll occasionally hear him try to say things.  Just yesterday he was watching a pre-school shapes DVD in the car and I heard him trying to say octagon - 'gon, gon.'  He's also tried to say star.  He's also started to say Nola a little better. 
-He can correctly identify eyes, nose, mouth & head.  I really haven't worked with him a whole lot on these things, it took him a day for each and he knew them.  He is, for the most part, not interested in paying attention to anything I do unless he's nursing or in the bathtub - I believe I've noted that in these monthly updates before.
(Penguin ice cream from the Blue Bunny ice cream truck!)

-He became a walker in the last month and thinks he is 100% big.  He goes to Gymboree (play & learn) and  when we go to open gym there's usually two groups of children, the younger ones who tend to congregate together because the moms chat, and the older ones, who run wild.  He tends to prefer the older ones despite being two or three years younger.  Fantastic.  We're constantly scooping him up before he's run down.  

-Independence.  Enough said.
-He's become a toddler overnight.

-He is a lover.  He loves to run (yes, didn't take long) up to the cats and lay on them and hug them.  He will also pick up a stuffed animal and hug it, smiling.  So sweet!  I love to see him do this.  What's funny is that we've never really showed him this or taught him to do it - he's very affectionate.  
-Now that he's walking, we're using the learning tower and love it.  So glad we have it - he enjoys playing with play-doh, splashing in the water, and otherwise just being able to hang out with me in the kitchen.

-He taps his fingers.  He does it on my chest, face and shoulder when he nurses and I've noticed him tapping his legs in the car and sometimes in the stroller.

-He blows kisses when I leave his room for nap.

-He's the most amazing thing I've ever made and I love every day of him!

Jun 3, 2012


Welcome to Oliver's play space.  
I intended to wait until this room was complete to share, but I have no idea when that will be and for the sake of documentation, I'm posting it now. :)  I have tossed around several ideas for the wall above the train/play table, but haven't settled on anything yet.  I would really like to put some of Oliver's artwork on the walls, but unfortunately, the shape of this room makes anything on the walls without a shelf or other barrier too unsafe.  I may look into a decal instead.

This is the view when you walk into the room.  I have a better photo somewhere, but it took less time to take one with bad light than to look for the other one.

I originally made this bunting for O's birthday.  I really love it in here now!

My child is 100% boy.  He likes all things stereotypical for a boy.  Trucks galore.  Wheels and balls are also high on the list as are dogs and dirt.

I love this print, it was originally going to be in his nursery, which is why the colors are a little muted, but I decided not to use it in there after afterall.

This decal was also purchased for his nursery, but I couldn't find the right spot for it. 

We use the baskets both for storage and for keeping like toys together, such as music.  
The music basket and the car basket are favorites.

I realized when I was uploading pictures that all of the balls are green!  We do have a few blue ones too!

Just this week, Oliver has started to actually climb on these ride-on toys.  Before now he would just push them around - except for the plane, that one, he'd sit in front of and just watch the propeller spin. :)

This is the back view of the playroom.  The empty frame used to be downstairs and I moved it thinking I'd frame the elephant, but it didn't work and I just haven't moved it yet.  I plan to put a shelf in that same space for crayons, markers, other craft supplies.  There will also be either shelving or a small bookshelf on the wall under the elephant for things like paper, play-doh, etc... Of course all of this may change.  I haven't decided if I want this to be a space where he can play unattended when he's older (likely) or if we'll always be close - so the craft plans may change completely!

I just found out this book shelf has been discontinued and I am SO glad we bought it when we did.  
This was another piece I wanted for the nursery, but there just wasn't a good place for it there.

I LOVE this elephant.  It's an original painting and one I ordered from a sweet artist in Canada.  I was browsing through People.com's 'Babies' blog and saw a swag basket of items that celebrities received from some sort of function and a painting like this was in that grouping.  I contacted the artist and ordered one - I love that it ties in to the classic elephant silhouettes in the nursery and brings a playful splash of color to the playroom.  At some point I plan to make it stand out a little more, but not sure how yet.

The room overall is a little odd - it's the room above the garage, so the shape of it alone is a challenge - but it's 24' x 12' so it's a really good sized room.  It used to be the best sleeping room because it was the coolest in the summer and the warmest in the winter. 

I'm still not done with this space yet - the wall color is original from when we used this room as a guest room with two twin beds on either sides of the window.  I love the neutral green color and I think it works nicely, but I think I'd like something a little more fun.  I'm scouting Pinterest for ideas.  

The walls are also an issue - still trying to figure out what to do on some of them.  And the rug was purchased at Target, but it's not my favorite and I'd like something a little thicker and possibly bigger.  We could still use this one but have it rolled up and under the play table.  

We've talked about making this room a guest room, keeping the bookshelf in the back and having a reading corner/library area in the room.  I think we've settled on keeping it a playroom though.  Lighting is very difficult in this room because we didn't think to add an overhead light when we built the house.  That leaves us with only two options, lamps (which we do now) or having it re-wired (not appealing).

So that's the playroom - hope you'll come and play with us!
"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub