Friday, February 15, 2013

Meal Planning!

Meal planning has been going pretty great!
My mom and I sat down and between us, a few weeks ago, and made a 5-6 week menu plan.
We picked out a lot of new recipes (many from Pinterest) that we wanted to try and new grocery lists etc.
We wrote out a dinner every night for the following several weeks, then went ahead and bagged and labeled all the frozen components of each meal (the meat/chicken/pork or whatever, and then I cut and vacuum sealed any veggies it needed), Then we made up baskets with all the dry ingredients, spices, oils, wines, etc and labeled baskets for each meal for each night.
So far we have been doing great!
We started on 1/28 and I think we've only skipped/missed one day. (I forget why but we skipped the meal we had planned and did pizza).
I also started trying a Meatless Monday to help cut costs and also eat a little healthier (sort of-haha).

Some of these made seem a little weird or carb heavy-but I have some picky eaters, so sometimes I will make just a little bit of several different things. I might have half of the people eating like stuffing, the other half don't like it. Half of the people like my garlic mashed potatoes, the other half don't. And the only veggies that EVERYONE likes, are corn and green beans, so I tend to make those pretty often (like almost every night-haha).

1/28- Eggplant parm and pasta

1/29- Onion soup pork chops- New recipe- I tweaked it a little, and it was really good. Logan devoured his!

1/30- Salisbury steaks with caramelized Onion Gravy- New recipe- Very good!

1/31- Pretzel Chicken w/ Mustard Cheddar Sauce- New recipe- Really, really good. It had me even craving more pretzels after dinner, lol.

2/1- Cuban Flank Steak- New recipe- Crockpot- Pretty good.

2/2- Chicken Cacciatore over pasta

2/3- Meatball and Sausage subs and french fries and onion straws

2/4- Italian Herb and Cheese Bowtie pasta

2/5- "Amazing Pork Tenderloin", baked potatoes, green beans- New recipe- Crockpot- It was okay.

2/6-Meatloaf, corn, leftover green beans, onion roasted potatoes and carrots, beef rice, twice baked potatoes made out of leftovers

2/7- Garlic Chicken Legs, mashed potatoes, corn

2/8-  Quick and Easy Mongolian Beef was supposed to be for dinner, this was the night we skipped it and did pizza.

2/9- Braised Pork Ragu over fettuccine or parmesan orzos- New recipe- I adapted this to put in the crockpot- Very, very good. My daughter ate the leftovers like 3 times.

2/10- London Broil with Golden Mushroom Gravy, mashed potatoes, beef rice, green beans

2/11- Baked Penne with Philly Italian Herb cooking creme- New recipe- I adapted it to make it meatless and it came out very, very good.

2/12- Turkey Cutlets with pan gravy, her butter rice, corn, mashed potatoes, - New recipe- pretty good.

2/13- Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken, corn, I forget what other sides- New recipe- Crockpot- Pretty good.

2/14- Balsamic Roast Beef. mashed potatoes, beef noodles, green beans- New recipe- Crockpot- Pretty good, I toned the balsamic flavor down a little for the gravy by adding some water and beef flavoring. The meat was good, but the acid in the Balsamic was a little strong for the gravy for us.

Prior to starting this hardcore menu planning, we had also tried a New Progresso website recipe for Braised Short Ribs, which was also very good. And another New Crockpot Flank Steak recipe, which was also good.

Soon to be made (hopefully)-
Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu-

Honey Mustard Pork Chops-
Crisp Herbed Baked Chicken-

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans-

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff-

Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops-

Crockpot Cube Steak and Gravy-

Creamy Garlid Pasta-

Chicken 'pillows'-

Pork Chops with Creamy Marsala-

Smothered Chicken-

Million Dollar Spaghetti-

Crockpot Chicken Stroganoff-

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pinterest completions!!

Tuscan Garlic Chicken- Awesome!

Beef Red Wine Ragu- Awesome!

Cinnamon Roll Cake- Okay, not quite what I was expecting.

Cookie Chip Dough Dip- Delicious!

Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken- I loved, no one else really did.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles- Delicious!

Oreo Truffles- Amazing!!

Cake Batter Truffles- Okay, not bad, but not out of this world.

Snickerdoodle Bread- Mine didn't come out quite like the photos at all, but it was delicious!!

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes- Again, mine came out much, much messier than the picture, but still delicious. cake.html

Crispy Cheddar Chicken- Delicious!!

Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce- Delicious! I love it. I even do the sauce with just pasta and no chicken sometimes, or just saute up my chicken in a pan instead of breading and frying it.

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken- Very good, but the spices were very strong and overwhelming, I will cut them back significantly next time, it was too spicy for everyone.

Grilled Chicken and Tomato Cream Sauce- Delicious!

Parmesan crockpot Pork Roast- Didn't really care for.

Anger Hair Chicken with Pasta- Delicious!

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Roma Tomatoes and Mushrooms (I left out the mushrooms)- Really, really good. Most people here don't really care for mushrooms, so I left them out. But this was a great recipe for an alfredo sauce.

Hashbrowns in the waffle maker- Mine didn't turn out very good.

Boneless Chicken Rolls- often pinned with the WRONG description. It's a chicken kiev type dish, with butter, garlic, parsely, breadcrumbs. This was okay, just remember to make the rolls and refrigerate them ahead of time.

Scalloped Potato Gratin- Very good! Almost everyone loved it.

Drunken Pork Chops- Okay, probably won't make again, they weren't a huge hit.

String beans with Garlic- Everyone who likes fresh green beans loved this.

Basil Pork Chops- Very good, almost everyone really liked it.

Beef Burgundy over Egg Noodles- Very good! Easy and everyone liked it.

Pork and Green Pepper Stew- I was hesitant, but after cooking slowly all day it was very, very good!

Baked S'Mores- Delicious! I don't really like graham crackers, but this tasted amazing when it was done!

Banana "Ice Cream"- Pretty good, I was impressed

Cinnamon French Toast Bake- Several versions of this recipe, the one I chose to try was just okay.

Oreo Fluff Dessert- Was a huge hit at a party, everyone loved it.

Triple Chocolate Pound Cake- Pretty good, I was expecting it to be a bit different.

"Crack" Potatoes- Pretty good.

Chicken Capri Pasta- I didn't like this at all, my husband did, but nobody else really cared for it.

Dough recipe for sugar cookies that aren't supposed to lose their shape- Well, they didn't hold their shape as well as I expected, however they were really delicious.

Blended Vanilla Mocha (a skinny recipe)- Pretty good

Easy Lemon crockpot Chicken- Not bad.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Oreo/Reeses Brownies- Had them with oreo, very, very good, but probably very bad for you.

Parmesan Basil Orzos- SO good. Great alternative for a side dish.

Lazy Cake Cookie- So easy and so good.

"Best Fruit Dip Ever"- Delicious!

Italian Pasta Veggie Salad- Pretty big hit at a party

Herbs in Olive Oil- Worked pretty well

Crescent Dough Apple pie filling Bake- AMAZING!

Grilled Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches- Pretty good!

Baked Pierogie Casserole- Pretty good!

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak- Wasn't a huge hit. It took on some kind of funny taste from the ginger I think and being in the crockpot all day.

2 Minute Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookie- Pretty good!

Crockpot Bolognese Sauce- Okay, wasn't as amazing as most recipes I hear raved about.

Fresh Apple Cake- Very good!

Crockpot Flank Steak- Very good!

Slow Cooked Turkey Dinner- Very good.

Chocolate Chip cookies from Cake Mix- Okay, I prefer the lazy cake cookie if I'm going to use cake mix though.

Grape Jelly Meatballs- Good

Parmesan Turkey cutlets- Very, very good!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies- These were just okay, I think maybe I'm just not a fan of shortbreads.

Gooey Cookies n Cream Chocolate Cake Bars- Delicious but EXTREMELY rich.

Meatball Stuffed Biscuits- Very good.

Sour Cream Pumpkin Bars- Very good! I could've eaten the whole pan myself!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies- Very good!

Cinnamon Roll Waffles- Very good!!

Balsamic Flank steak- Very good!

Chicken with Tarragon and White Wine- Good. Also have made it with Oregano instead of Tarragon.

Garlic Chicken for Two- Good!

More recent completions as of 2/14 also include-

This Oreo Layer Dessert-

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese frosting-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

I have so much to post about, but I'm not sure I even have the time or the energy. I've been hoping to be able to update more from my Kindle, but honestly the keyboard and autocorrections on it can be a little weird, especially if you're a fast typer.
We had our re-evaluation with Meredith's Help Me Grow coordinator last week, and she definitely still qualifies for their assistance. They help advise and direct you in you have children who are at-risk basically (easiest way to explain it). She has a very significant speech delay, more so even than Logan's was. And there was some concern over her fine motor skills also (this is new).
She may end up qualifying to go to the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities building, the Achievement Center for some help. She would have to be tested by them I think and qualify to their levels, and she'd get assistance their, classes a couple times a week I think, all at no cost. If she doesn't qualify we have to look into a nearby speech therapy place for those concerns. If she can get in at the MCAC she would get services in all areas she needs right from them, which would be wonderful. Plus interaction with other children her age as well. I have a follow-up with our HMG coordinator tomorrow, to review our family plan and I guess see where we are at in all of this, and if I have to contact the MCAC, or if I'm waiting to hear from them. The whole thing is very stressful, but the waiting sucks. Meredith has also been SO bad lately. I'm not exaggerating. She's really bad. Throwing, getting pissed and yelling when she doesn't get her way, and she is a terrible climber. I don't know what to do with her most days. She needs someone constantly keeping an eye on her. She climbs on the bricks by the fireplace, the couch now, tables and endtables....She's going to end up getting seriously hurt! She is frustrating me to no end!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Chew

I have been loving The Chew lately! It's a tv show on AND, mainly focusing on food, but also other home, health and life subjects and tips.
Some of the recipes look AMAZING, and I can't wait to try them!!

This looked sooooooo good!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


It's been a long week. Meredith and I have been very sick, luckily Logan only has a bit of the sniffles. By Wednesday I was getting concerned about Meredith, she was having very bad wheezing a few times a night, and getting that horrid "barking" cough, as well as some really think, dark green drainage during the day. I was concerned about a sinus infection, and possible croup.
Took her to the doctor, and thank God her lungs and everything were good, as were her ears. Doctor said based on what I told her, it was probably croup, so she set us up with a prescription (that should also help with a sinus infection if she was getting the onset of that). Then of course, later that day, she started getting a really bad diaper rash, and from Wednesday to Thursday it was HORRIFYING. Really raw, starting to bleed a little. Poor baby was just writhing in pain. It basically took 3 people to hold her down and wipe her when she had #2 to change her diaper. We switched from our maximum strength diaper cream to a prescription cream we had from a previous visit, and there was a drastic improvement overnight to today. Still not all cleared up, but hopefully we are getting there.
Logan never had diaper rashes as a baby, but poor Meredith gets them pretty frequently. We change her constantly, but it doesn't seem to matter. She must just have really, super sensitive skin. I feel terrible every time it happens, but what else can I do? She gets changed IMMEDIATELY when we know she's done #2, and probably at least every 2 hours otherwise. I always, always use a baby powder to keep her dry, but I just can't seem to win. She's got her last day of antibiotics tomorrow, and maybe that's part of what is causing this, so we will see what happens with that also.
I haven't really gotten much sleep the last 2 nights. We had a successful night of BOTH kids sleeping in their room alone on Wednesday night, but I was just so worried and waiting for someone to wake up, or listening to every little cough I heard that I couldn't even enjoy getting to be in my bed. I barely slept an hour. Then last night it was one kid or the other. Logan coughing, Meredith coughing, Logan waking up and wanting to come in our bed. Then of course, they were both up at the buttcrack of dawn. Just my luck.
I did take 2 short naps today, and that's just about all that kept me going.
Lack of sleep is the biggest killer for me. I can handle most other hurdles as long as I'm not dead tired. 2 days without sleep, and I start to get a little crazy and on edge. Plus I've been pretty sick too, and that is making this all worse. I'm more tired because I'm sick, and I'm probably not getting better because I'm not getting sleep. Vicious cycle. Hopefully I am nearing the end of it. I can only pray. My throat isn't killing me anymore, but the sinuses and drainage are still pretty bad. I've been popping cold meds like crazy, but am too hesitant to take anything PM, because I'm worried I either won't hear the kids during the night, or if I do, I'll be too zonked out to take care of them. But believe me, I'd die to be able to pop 2 NyQuil PMs and sleep 8-9 hours.

Book update

2013 Reading List- UPDATE!

A mix of e-books and actual books that I've received as gifts, or downloaded (so far only free ones):

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played with Fire- Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest- Stieg Larsson
The Ice Cream Girls- Dorothy Koomson
The Sweet By and By- Todd Johnson
Lone Wolf- Jodi Picoult - COMPLETED
Sing You Home- Jodi Picoult
Water For Elephants- Sara Gruen- COMPLETED
Bright Shiny Morning- James Frey
Coming Up For Air- Patti Callahan Henry
Then Came You- Jennifer Weiner- COMPLETED
Swim- Jennifer Weiner- COMPLETED
A Very Special Delivery- Linda Goodnight- COMPLETED

Those are the ones I already have.

I would like to get/buy:

The Tenth Circle- Jodi Picoult
Handle With Care- Jodi Picoult (I actually think I may have this one somewhere and may have started reading it a few years ago)
House Rules- Jodi Picoult
BossyPants- Tina Fey
Matched- Ally Condie
The Book Thief- Markus Zusak
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir- Jenny Lawson
Behind the Beautiful Forevers- Katherine Boo
Island of the Blue Dolphins- Scott O'Dell (I am pretty sure this is a book I read when I was much, much younger and really liked, but then lost and later could never remember the name of)

Someone also suggested The Paris Wife, and I just started that (was able to free download it on my Kindle using the Overdrive app/library).

Monday, January 7, 2013

I need a weekend from my weekend!!

Seriously though, it's like when you take a vacation and feel like you need a vacation afterward! Ha.
I'm just utterly exhausted, but I'm sure that's mainly due to the fact that I'm coming down with a cold.
Logan started with a runny nose late in the week, and it's spread to Meredith and I. I don't think it's the flu or anything, just seems like sniffles, and runny noses, and a little bit of a sore throat for me. Let Hand-wash-a-palooza 2013 commence!!!
I thought mid-week I was going to have it fairly easy. The kids were absolute ANGELS on Wednesday. They seriously were. I should probably write that down in a baby book somewhere to document it. They played nice, ate good, were generally calm and mild-mannered and we just had the most awesome, pleasant day ever.
Welpppppp, I paid for it. Big time.
Thursday and Friday were a NIGHTMARE. I mean messy mealtimes, messes all over the house, screaming, fighting, hitting, attitudes, just ridiculous. And Saturday and Sunday really weren't much better.
This is fairly unusual for Logan, because in all honesty, he really usually is such a good kid.
Not really surprising for Meredith though. That little child has got a really nasty attitude about her, and I have no clue where it came from or why. It's baffling. Don't get me wrong, I do truly love her with all my heart, but those who have witnessed it can testify to her brattiness. We are dealing with overcoming a number of obstacles with this child, and I joke constantly that one of us, either her or I, are not going to make it safely to her age 18!! She is going to drive me insane long before then.
I've tried to nurture her as best I could without coddling her. Especially with the colic, then the surgery, the physical therapy. Now she's showing signs of significant speech delay. And the best way I can describe it, is that she acts very baby-ish still. She doesn't seem or act her age at all. I'm not sure if this is standard or more typical of a second child. We really did try not to baby her. I just feel like she is far less advanced than Logan was, or even other children her age. She's almost 2, but in so many ways I really feel like she's such a a'baby' still. She was over a year old before we got her off the bottle. She will sometimes use a fork, but a spoon is almost a lost cause. She is a terrible messy eater. Logan was fully on a fork and spoon by his first birthday. So this is all new to me.
Sleeping has been another issue. She has always been a night owl. We did NOT transition from her infant and colic days well at all. No matter what we did, she would just refuse to go to sleep at a normal hour. Then from the time she turned 1, until just recently, pooping was an issue. And I think it's part of why she wouldn't go to sleep. Almost like clockwork, she would poop between 12:30-1am. Then there was the issue of being concerned about her waking up her brother or my husband. The kids were to be sharing a room, so it would've been quite a task putting a screaming child in with a sleeping one. And my husband works long hours, and gets up very early. So even though we set up a small crib in our room for her, I had to be careful she wasn't going to keep him up all night too.
Usually I would throw her in the pack n play in the family room when it got late, she'd play and whatever, and I'd wait for her to poop. She'd do her #2, and I'd change her and all, then toss her back in the pack n play until she was asleep or almost asleep. Then I'd carry her up to our room for the night. Terrible, terrible, terrible-I know! And it created a bad habit of the tv being on down in the family room most nights too.
Well, all of a sudden a few weeks ago, she won't sleep upstairs anymore.
Not in the pack n play in our room (which is where I would put her for her afternoon nap too), not in the big real crib in the kids room. She just wouldn't have it!! She would freak out, and scream and cry. But the minute I brought her downstairs and put her in the pack n play in the family room-BOOM. OUT LIKE A LIGHT!! No rhyme or reason!
So finally (like 2 weeks ago), my mom and I decided to say screw it. We said she needs to get over it, and just tough it out. We decided we will make her cry it out in the afternoons in the crib for naps. I know some people are hardset against CIO, and it's not something I've ever firmly instituted ever with the kids, but she's 22 months old, I figured she would be fine.
The first day she cried for a full 45 minutes before we caught her on the camera basically climbing out of the crib (or climbing back in! hard to tell by the time we saw, when I got up there she had gotten back fully in the crib.) Obviously, safety comes first and I brought her downstairs.
The second day, she cried for about 45 SECONDS before we discovered her on her belly, on the railing teeter-tottering back and forth with her feet in the air. I ran up and grabbed her as quickly as possible.
The crib is up way too high to risk her breaking her neck! And yes, it is set as far down as the mattress can go! And believe me, it's fairly low! This is also a first for me. Logan never climbed out of his crib. Not once.
She got a reprieve on the 3rd day because she got sick, and we then we just haven't even tried again.
I'm really at a loss.
After 3-4 weeks of sleeping on the couch in the family room (What can I say? I'm more worried about everyone else upstairs getting sleep I guess), I decided I had had enough and couldn't do it anymore.
I should mention that aside from all of this......Logan hasn't been sleeping again either. He would go to sleep in his bed, and wake up between 1-3 every night crying and insisting on going in our bed. When it started, I conceded, out of fear of waking up his sister (or Matt), because at that time Meredith was actually sleeping through the night in our room!!!!
Well I decided I can only tackle so many things at once, and had Matt bring the extra mattress up to the kids room. My poor back can't take sleeping on the couch anymore. And decided I would just put Logan right to sleep in our bed each night (and weirdly enough, he doesn't wake up when he goes to sleep in our bed. I still have no clue why or what is causing him to randomly wake up when he's put to bed in his own room!!!).

Well, back to Meredith.
The one day she tried to get out of the crib, I sat on the floor and held her to calm her for a few minutes (she was very worked up). And when I let her down, she had started to go to climb in Logan's toddler bed.
So I had decided that I would go ahead, put Logan in our room, and see if I could get her to sleep in Logan's toddler bed, with me on the mattress on the floor. Well, she wasn't having that either. I put her on the mattress with me, and she just sat there, wouldn't lie down, for over an hour-before finally laying down and giving me a horrible restless night's sleep. So last night, the second night, we decided to bring her pack n play from the family room up and try to get her to sleep in the room at least, even if still in her pack n play.
Well she freaked. Again. I tried a few things before I gave up and did something I am totally against.....and turned on the tv. And lo and behold, she sat there a few minutes quietly, and then laid right down and went to sleep. Go me! Gave me kid a terrible habit already! :-/
Tonight was slightly more difficult, but I don't even have the energy to go into all that.
I just honestly don't know what to do with her!! She is the most difficult child I have ever met or heard of in my life. What do I do? Seriously? I feel like I can't risk her falling out of that crib. The thought petrifies me!
And I've got reservations about leaving her alone in there to sleep in the toddler bed too. It's got a railing on one side, and the wall is on the other, but I'm worried she'd slip or get hurt trying to climb off the end.
I feel like I've got some impossible challenge and I've got no clue where to start or where to head.

And now I'm sick on top of all the nonsense. The kids are sick. We're all a bunch of grumpy, crabby people. And none of us are getting enough quality sleep! Sheesh.