Dec 15, 2011

Dinner just like Mom used to make.

My husband tells me all of the time that his least favorite thing about growing up and leaving the nest is that he has to feed himself 3 times a day, every day. I think I have the same complaint. We both love to eat and hate to cook.... so yeah, it's been fun. Adding an extra element of, ahem, fun is the fact that his mom cooked (and still cooks) amazing meals for the family...... often. It's a blessing and a curse. The man comes to the table (pun intended) with high expectations, and I'm the wife that screws up hamburger helper. But who better to teach me than the woman herself, right? Luckily, she's amazing and had answered more than a few of my frantic phone calls. And she's got an arsenal of tried and true recipes for me to try. I've vowed to master about 5 of Jon's all time favorite Mom-meals.

Linda Jane's Pork Chops and Rice
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 package center cut pork chops
    • 1 cup long grain rice
    • 3 beef bullion cubes
    • 1 can beef broth
    • Splash of cooking oil
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the bullion cubes in 3/4 cup of hot water and then set it aside so they can dissolve.
  • Place a small amount of oil in the bottom of your dutch oven and brown the pork chops over medium high heat.
  • Turn the heat off and remove the pork chops. Add the uncooked rice to the dutch oven, and place the pork chops on top. Pour your bullion-cube-water and beef broth on top.
  • Cook everything inside of your covered dutch oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Side note: I usually double the recipe because it's so easy and we love it so much. We eat it for days.
Super yummy and super easy.

I can't wait to take on the next thing from my mother in law's recipe collection!

Don't let my awful food-photography skills deter you.

Happy birthday honey!! Really glad I didn't mess up this dinner.

Dec 10, 2011

Cloth Diapering: Good for your pocketbook and the planet!

Before I had Lucie, I never thought much about diapering. I mean, it seemed like a given that we'd use disposables and that would be that. But one of my very best friends cloth diapered her daughter with great success and I got to thinking.... why not try it?

When we found out I was pregnant, we got nervous about the added cost of having a baby in the house. (Who doesn't?) So I started looking into different ways to save some money and diapers were the first thing on the list. We ended up buying 18 Mother Ease one-size diapers and 3 air flow covers in each available size. All of the diapers were bought used from costing a total of about $350. Yes, it is a larger up-front investment than buying disposables; but here's the best part- not only will these diapers fit Lucie until she's potty trained, but they will also be used on all future children as well. I've read that the average cost of disposable diapers in the first year of parenthood is upwards of about $2500. So when you look at it that way, it's pretty much a no brainer.

I've also heard it said that cloth diapering will ultimately cost about as much as disposables in the long run because of the additional laundry loads, etc. We've been at it for almost 11 months now and have found that it really hasn't changed our utility bills at all. I wash a load of diapers about every other day, and when the weather is nice, they are dried outside on the clothesline. I also make my own laundry detergent which is a super easy way to cut laundry costs. 

The first question people always seem to ask is "What do you do with the poo?" The answer is simple: flush it down the toilet!! We bought a diaper sprayerand cleaning the poo is a piece of cake. (Ok so it doesn't exactly smell like cake, but does it ever?) People seem to be pretty grossed out by the whole poo thing, but seriously, as a new parent, you're going to have to deal with poo regardless of how you choose to diaper your baby. Better get used to it now.

Long gone are the days of folding and pinning and scrubbing your cloth diapers. There are so many different types of cloth diapers on the market and they are about as easy to use as disposables. My husband was the biggest skeptic of all, and now he's a pro. Just a couple of snaps and viola, a clean, dry, happy baby. And more money in the bank for Mom and Dad to have a date night.

Now, using cloth diapers has great implications for our planet as well. Think about the millions upon millions of diapers sitting in landfills all over the world. It's kind of astounding really. But if I'm going to be completely honest, "going green" wasn't and still isn't my main motivator. The financial benefits are what truly sealed the deal for me.

And as a final thought, I'd like to point out that the only times I've ever had any kind of blow-outs or leaking accidents have been with disposables. Seriously. My cloth diapers have never let me down.

I am by no means a cloth diaper expert. All I know is that it has worked amazingly well for my family. So maybe give the idea of cloth diapers a moments' thought. You may be surprised at how easy and financially savvy it really is. And hey, if it doesn't work out, you can always sell them back online. Can't do that with disposables, can ya? :)

What do you think? Have you had any experiences good or bad with cloth diapers? Which brands have worked the best for you? Any tips you'd like to share?

Dec 9, 2011

Everybody Love Everybody

The Holidays can be rough, and I hope you know more than anything else that you are not alone.
It will get better, even if you can't see it now, never stop believing, and never stop smiling. 

If you'd like to purchase an ELE shirt for yourself, or someone else, click this link:

Love to you all.

Dec 7, 2011

I need to stop watching this crap. And so do you.

So it's no secret that I absolutely love babies, and the birthing process in general. I'm a natural birth enthusiast for sure, but at the same time, I understand that how women choose to birth is a very personal decision. I hope that all women can go into the birthing process understanding all of their options and the possible repercussions that come along with each.

But here's the thing that has me livid right now... I was watching an episode of the Lifetime show called "One Born Every Minute" and not once, but twice now have I witnessed the following:

The pregnant mom comes to the hospital, and tells everyone in the room that she would like to have a natural drug free delivery. Then, the contractions begin to intensify and the mom starts to question her choice (as I'm sure we all do). However, instead of having her birth team support her through the hard parts, they encourage her to go for the epidural. Why!? One laboring Mama told her mother "I'm afraid I won't have the strength to push the baby out," to which the Mother responded "Honey, you probably won't. Getting the epidural is the best decision I ever made."

WHAT!?!? Why would you ever do that!?!?

I wanted to crawl through my TV screen and strangle those women who are telling these scared mothers that they "probably wouldn't" be able to deliver their babies naturally. We are women. Strong, amazing women. We were made to have babies, without the help of epidurals or even an entire hospital staff. Gasp!

I am so incredibly thankful that I had such an amazing and supportive team around me when I delivered my daughter. Trisha, our doula of Serenity Birth Services was the best thing that ever happened to me and my husband. (The poor guy was like a deer in headlights until she came in and saved the day.) She also taught our childbirth classes, which were amazing. She enabled us to go into the hospital setting prepared for anything. Between her and my midwife out of the UNT Nurse Midwives office, I knew that I could do this- even in my darkest moments of self-doubt. And wouldn't you know it, I found the inner strength to deliver my baby naturally, without so much as a Tylenol, which is exactly what I wanted to do. And in doing so, I realized that I can truly do anything. It was the most empowering experience of my entire life and I only wish that other Moms could have the same for themselves (if that's what they have set out to do.)

If you're pregnant or know someone who is, may I please offer you a few helpful hints:

1. Stop watching all the birthing shows on TV. They are so one-sided, it's mind blowing.

2. Start reading Birth Without Fear. It is the most amazing, uplifting and empowering birthing blog out there. She's also on Facebook .

3. Before you decide to have an induction, epidural....etc... please, PLEASE do your research.
While modern medicine has come a long way, it's not fool-proof and you need to know what you're getting yourself into. I always recommend Henci Goer's book called The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. I always thought I wanted the epidural. Always. I thought "why would you go through all of that agony when there's all this great stuff out there to eliminate the pain?" I never thought I'd be a natural birther. Ever. But my friend recommended that book to me and I was hooked within 5 minutes. I read it cover to cover in 3 days and never looked back. If you're not into reading as much, or are reading too much already, watch the documentary "The Business of Being Born." I had my parents watch it with me, and afterward they were fully on board with my decision to go drug free. It sheds an amazing light on the birthing process in our country, something that we should all be aware of.

4. If you want to have an unmedicated birth, talk to your friends and family beforehand to find out their stance on the issue. If they aren't fully, and I do mean FULLY, supportive; they do not need to be a part of your birth experience. There are so many other ways to find the support you're looking for and the last thing you need when the time comes are people who doubt your decision and abilities. I know that most girls want their moms around, just make sure that Mom is going to support YOU and not her own agenda.

5. Ask your OBGYN about their induction rate, C-Section rate....etc. You may be shocked at what you find out. I know I was. I switched healthcare providers at 20 weeks in and am beyond thankful that I did.

Regardless of how you decide to birth, I hope more than anything that you go into it fully educated, with as much love and support as you can handle.

Love to you all.

Dec 6, 2011

Bouncing Back

I apologize for my lengthy absence from this blog. Our internet connection has been down for what seems like an eternity.

I also realize that I am quite late in the viewing and sharing of this particular video. But I finally got to watch it and I couldn't help but pass it along.

What an amazing, articulate, and inspiring young man. I think he's right about making any parent proud. I hope that everyone can take a good hard look at this, and then themselves in regard to their personal opinion on gay marriage. Really, answer the question, if not out loud then to yourself: Why are you opposed to it? Other than for the "sake of tradition" or something equally as ridiculous, why is it that we are dehumanizing people simply because they love someone of the same gender? I've honestly never understood the opposition..... and really, I don't know that I want to. I'm very open minded and won't ever back down from a good (read: intelligent) debate, but it's really hard for me to listen to some antiquated bullshit about marriage only being between a man and woman. Why? I have yet to hear ONE GOOD REASON why people are against it. Not. One.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, definitely take a look at this video (even though most of you probably already have.) And then ask yourself the question one more time: Why are you against gay marriage?

Love to you all.

Nov 16, 2011

Best Article Ever

A friend of mine (and fellow SAHM) sent me this and I thought it was amazing!!! So incredibly true.

Nov 4, 2011

In life, when you feel lost, Oprah will find you.

I have never, not ever, been able to answer the "what do you want to be when you grow up?" question. Never. Even as a little kid, I couldn't decide on a "fantasy career"; so as other kids were pretending to be Astronauts or Doctors or Ballerinas, I just kinda..... I don't know.... didn't pretend to be anything.

During my last 2 years of high school, there was that ever-looming question of "What's next?" I knew I wanted to go to college, but that was all I knew. I had no clue what I wanted to do when I got there, and after that? Pfffffft. Nothing.