Monthly Archives: March 2016

Buffalo Ranch Baked Chicken

Another super easy chicken recipe for you. All you need:

  • 1-1.5 pounds of chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup of ranch dressing
  • 1/2 tablespoon Frank’s red hot
  • 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 cup of shredded cheese (any flavor will do, I used Mexican)

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Mix ranch and hot sauce and spread onto both sides of chicken. Put chicken on baking sheet and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove chicken, sprinkle with cheese and cook for another 7 minutes.



Easy Lemon Garlic Pork Roast

Recently I bought a pre-seasoned Hormel pork loin: lemon garlic flavored and made it into a crock pot roast. It was soooo yummy, I am upset I didn’t buy more while they were on sale. Here’s all you need:

24 oz lemon garlic pork loin

5 white potatoes

8 oz baby carrots

10.75 oz cream of cheddar soup

All you do is dice the potatoes, throw everything in the crock pot and cook on low 9 hours.

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If you can’t find a preseason pork loin, try the above recipe but add a little lemon juice and garlic seasoning.



My Worst Visit To The Doctor

Today, I took Lucille for her well child check up. And this started off as the best visit ever. Peter had the day off so I left Lennon with him. Our appointment was at 9:30 am so there weren’t many people in the waiting room, as they had just opened for the day. And as we read books and ate crackers in the waiting room together, I was so happy. I don’t often get alone time with Lucille anymore, and though this alone time was in a medical waiting room, I was super grateful for it.

Then the nurse brought us back to the patient room, asked lots of questions, measured Lucille, etc. Everything was going great. Doctor came to see us, said she’s in perfect health. Then he left and as we were waiting for the nurse to come give us a vaccine that we were unable to do at 18 months and needed to make up, Lucille started vomiting. It was everywhere. I tried to tell the nurse not to get the vaccine ready, but it was too late. She asked our doctor what to do and he said not to vaccinate her if she’s not feeling well (good call) but told her to do the lead test before we left.

So the nurse pricks Lucille’s finger and Lucille doesn’t even care because she’s suddenly feeling super lousy. I try to clean myself up and I change Lucille into new clothes, the whole time thinking “oh my god, you’re the worst Mom in the world. Couldn’t you tell your kid was sick? Why’d you bring her here?” I go to schedule a nurse visit for 2 weeks from now so she can finally get the vaccine that she was supposed to get months ago. Again, I’m telling myself I’m the worst. Why didn’t I bring her for it sooner? While I’m making the appointment the nurse that did the lead test rushes over to me. Lucille got a 16, which means nothing to me, but which she tells me is very high.

So I panic. What does this mean? It means they should do another test. But the nurse doesn’t want to right now because poor Lucille is already sick, she doesn’t want to torture her further. They’ll do another test when I bring her back in 2 weeks for her vaccine. Try not to worry before then. Yeah, okay.

So I get Lucille in the car and start driving home and can start processing what just happened. High levels of lead!?! And I’m not supposed to freak out? Is this common? Do lots of kids test high at first, but then nothing’s wrong in the end? I’m sure this happened with one of my sister’s 4 kids (it didn’t) or one of my best friend’s 3 kids (wrong again). But my best friend tells me our other friend’s daughter tested high. So, good, I’m not alone. Talk to the other friend.

Other friend’s daughter scored a 6 and she freaked out as well. They retest her daughter a couple times a year and have repainted the hallway that they think was the cause of the problem. Okay, great, but my daughter has almost 3 times as much lead!

Husband’s freaking out at this point too! We have an old house, but we bought it less than 4 years ago. And the areas that were thought to possibly have lead paint were painted over. But paint chips. The lead paint must be coming through. Husband decides we should remove the entire border in our dining room and kitchen. That’s where the lead paint must be buried. We plan to redo these rooms anyways, now it’ll just look like hell until we have the money to redo these rooms. No biggie, get that shot out of my house!

Father in law gets wind of what we’re doing. Tells Peter to stop. Just put another coat of paint over it. Then redo the dining room this spring or summer to remove all the areas that may have lead paint. Kitchen will have to wait a bit longer… but we don’t let Lucille or Lennon hang out in there, so that should be good enough, right?

Are we not doing enough? Are we doing too much? The nurse said they wanted to test again because this test could be inaccurate…. I’m freaking out. And Lucille has the stomach bug. I’m feel like a failure as a mother. Why did I buy an old house?

Obviously, as this situation unfolds and likely becomes a non issue I will do an update. But for now, I thought I’d publish this post as is, with questions still unanswered. Because, for one reason or another, this is how all mother’s feel from time to time. And I hope someday I can look back on this and write about our experience in a much more composed way. But today, these are my feelings.

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On a happier note, here’s another picture from Lucille’s birthday. Truly one of the best days of my life. The greatest part about being a parent is that birthdays, holiday, family get togethers, etc; you get to see them all through the excitement of a child’s point of view again. Lucille laughed and played from the moment she awoke to the moment she fell asleep on her birthday. It was the happiest I’ve ever seen her, with the possible exception of when we saw Sesame Street Live about a month ago.




Happy Birthday Lucille Beatrice

Sweet baby girl… I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I first saw your beautiful face. I can not put into words how much joy you have brought into my life. Nor can I thank you enough for choosing me to be your mother. A mother is all I’ve ever wanted to be, but I could have never imagined feeling so happy and fulfilled as I do now that you’re in my life.

Every day you grow and learn a little bit more… nothing could make me more proud, and nothing could make me more sad. Part of me wishes I could freeze you as you are right now, full of joy, energy and curiosity. I wish you’d never have to know sorrow, fear and struggles. But you will, and though I wish I could protect you, I can’t. But I know you’ll make it through any battle you face, so long as I can raise you to keep the characteristics you already posses and that I treasure: kindness, independence and sense of adventure.

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I believe that many children would have struggled becoming a big sibling before they even turned 16 months old. But not you! You have so much love to give, we needed to add a brother to our little family so you could give it!

You became obsessed with babies before you were even a year old, and I knew you’d love having one of our own. Sometimes when you’re playing with your brother, I just stare and can’t believe how a child so small can understand so well how to make another baby happy. You know that he’s younger and needs to be entertained and you’re happy to play peekaboo or pretend to feed him, knowing he can’t entertain you in return. The other day he spit up and you found his burp cloth, cleaned his face and cleaned the floor. Didn’t miss a beat, didn’t ask for my help. (Though I did help once you were done, as your cleaning skills aren’t up to par.)

And it’s certainly not just Lennon. Mommy, Daddy and pretty much everyone we see gets hugs and kisses on a regular basis. Your hugs include pats on the back, which is super adorable and endearing. You’re even loving to your toys. All your dolls get rides in Lennon’s swing and you make sure each baby gets a turn. You tuck them in with hugs and kisses and even give them baths.

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As your completely biased mother I of course believe you are the brightest child this world has every known. But whether that’s true or not, what I’m truly proud of is seeing the joy you get out of learning. Every time you make a new discovery your face lights up.

When you see something new, you study it, trying to figure out exactly how it works. When you do figure out how something works, you want to show everyone! You fearlessly try new things on a daily basis… sometimes dangerous things that I wish you would fear… but overall, I’m glad that you are so fun loving! I hope you always continue to learn and explore and never experience boredom.

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There’s so much more I want to say. And I keep trying to organize my thoughts on all that makes you so wonderfully special. But I will waste your whole birthday trying to write it all out. So instead I’m going to say these ramblings are good enough.  You’re awake from your nap and I want to go back to celebrating with you!

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Sesame Street Party Food

Lucille turns 2 in a few days and we celebrated Sunday by having our families over for pizza and Sesame Street snacks. It was so fun!! Lucille was so excited to see everyone. So excited that she didn’t want to stop playing long enough to open presents. And when she did finally open them, she was most excited about reading the cards. It made my heart smile.

Anyways, I made Elmo cupcakes and Lucille loved them more than anything!! It made me feel so good to see her enjoy something that I made so much. I think I’m going to try to make fun snacks more often.

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Ingredients for Elmo cupcakes:

Red velvet cake mix (and everything needed according to the mix)

Red cupcake wrappers

Red frosting

Black gel

White chocolate circles

Peanut m&ms

York peppermint patties (or reeses)

Make red velvet cupcakes in red wrappers according to package instructions. Let them cool completely and then frost them. This is the best thing about these cupcakes, the messier you frost them, the better! It just looks like fur. Put 2 chocolate circles next to each other at the top of each cupcake and then with the black gel place a dot in the center of each circle. Directly below put an orange m&m in the center of the cupcake for his nose. Lastly, cut 12 peppermint patties or reeses in half and place a half at the bottom of the cupcake for the mouth.

I should mention, I only made 23 elmos and left 1 with just red frosting. I thought putting 2 candles in elmos face for Lucille to blow out might be traumatizing.

We also arranged our veggies to look like Oscar the grouch, which Lucille loved, but didn’t eat nearly as well. It was easy: broccoli for his fur, black olives for his mouth and baby carrots for his unibrow. And for his eyes 2 cups of ranch dressing with an olive in each one.

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And just because I’m a proud mommy, here’s a couple pictures of Lucille enjoying her birthday party.

Reading her cards very carefully

Reading her cards very carefully

She loooved Red Velvet cake!

She loooved Red Velvet cake!

Once all the other guests left she fell asleep in her Grammie's arms.

Once all the other guests left she fell asleep in her Grammie’s arms.


Lennon’s Gender Reveal

A little over a year ago Peter and I found out baby #2 was a baby boy! We obviously would have been happy with a girl, but finding out we would be blessed with a baby boy less than a year and a half after having a baby girl… we couldn’t believe it!

Lucille’s gender reveal party was so fun, but we wanted to do things differently this time. Peter wanted to see how they knew the sex of the baby and I thought it would be fun for just the two of us to find out together. And I was too lazy to throw another party, haha. But I still wanted to do something fun to let the world know about the baby that would be joining us. So we made Saint Patrick’s day scratch off tickets. Peter designed them and I turned them into scratch offs. It was really easy, I just followed the instructions in this video.

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We mailed these out to friends and family about a week before Saint Patrick’s Day and then made our social media announcement on the holiday. The funny thing about these scratch offs is we made them Irish/Saint Patrick’s day themed because of the upcoming holiday and because we’re of Irish descent. But we made them fully expecting that we were having a lassie, in which case the name we had picked out was Greek. But the boy name we had picked, Lennon Wallace, fits the theme of our scratch offs perfectly.

Warning: Don’t use glitter paint (as pictured above). I made some with glitter paint and some with regular paint. The glitter ones were nice to photograph, but they didn’t scratch well. They turned out to be more like peel off stickers.



Lucille’s Gender Reveal

As Lucille approaches her 2nd birthday, I’ve been very reminiscent. Lately she seems so much like a kid rather than a baby. It’s both exciting and heartbreaking. As I look back on the days that I carried her inside me, I thought I’d share pictures from our gender reveal party.

Being an aunt I wanted to include my nephews and niece in the excitement of finding out the sex of our baby. So we did our reveal with a pinata!

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This was a really fun way to involve the whole family. And it was really simple to not have to involve a bakery or anything of that sort. We had the ultrasound technician write the gender and seal it in an envelope. We brought the envelope, pinata and blue and pink candy to Peter’s parents neighbor, Mary Jane (pictured in the bottom right picture). She filled it with the accurate color (pink, obviously) and brought it to our house. All the kids were able to hit the pinata as we worked our way up youngest to oldest, and the little ones obviously didn’t make much of an impact. Then the adults started taking swings. When it was finally busted open we all got to celebrate our new baby girl together.

We also had everyone guess if they thought we’d have a boy or girl by dressing in blue or pink. It was clear not many were surprised that we were having a girl, we all had the same hunch. (Even Peter but he didn’t have pink clothes to wear!)

Seems like just yesterday… and now I’m off to buy supplies to make Elmo cupcakes for her 2nd birthday party!



Easy Italian Chicken Drumsticks

I haven’t been using crock pot much lately and I’ve missed it. So I brought it out and tried something new with chicken drumsticks last night. And I think it was pretty tasty. And, per usual, easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4lbs of chicken drumsticks
  • 2/3 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup miracle whip
  • Italian seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic salt

In the morning place chicken in crock pot and mix dressing and miracle whip. Pour over the chicken and then sprinkle it with Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt. Refrigerate until 4 hours before dinner. Cook on high for 4 hours.

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Baked Ham and Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

I wanted to make macaroni and cheese with ham and tomato, and I found recipes that included ham, and ones that included tomatoes… but didn’t find one that included both. (I didn’t do an extensive search, I’m sure they are out there.) So I took this recipe from food.com and added tomatoes, as well as a couple other changes.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 8 ounces of macaroni (I used medium shells)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)
  • 8 ounces of ham steak
  • 1 fresh tomato, diced
  • 3/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/3 cup of bread crumbs

And here are my simple instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you cook macaroni on stove top according to instructions on box, drain.
  2. Stir 1 and 1/4 cup of cheese in with macaroni, then the egg, sour cream, cottage cheese, ham and tomato.
  3. Place all in a baking dish (sprayed with non stick spray) and top with remaining 3/4 cup of cheese and the bread crumbs.
  4. Cook for 30 minutes.

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That’s all, super easy, super yummy! Hope you like it!

 



Little Lennon

I feel as if many of my posts unintentionally revolve around Lucille. Being the older, more active child, there is usually more to report regarding her. So I thought I’d take a moment to share a little about my 2nd little love.

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Lennon Wallace is the best surprise I’ve ever had. Though we always knew we wanted more kids (we want 3 total) we never imagined we’d have Lennon so quickly after his sister. Finding out we were expecting again when Lucille was 8 months old was one of the biggest shocks of my life. Once the reality of my pregnancy set in, Peter and I were both convinced we would have another little girl. So finding out he was a boy was another big surprise. Then when he came 3 weeks and 2 days early, we were surprised yet again. He surprised the doctors by weighing 7 lbs 3 oz already, but that didn’t surprise me, I could feel that he was big! Everything about this little man’s journey to us was unexpected, and I know he will continue to surprise me throughout his life.

From day 1 Lennon was the most observant baby I ever met. Over 7 months later, he still loves to study the world around him. And due probably to his sister’s hyperactivity he gets bored easily if his surroundings are less than energetic. This has resulted in many, many hours being spent walking him around to see new things. He is really toning my arm muscles.

1 major change has occurred since his birthday however, and that is his willingness to sleep. While at the hospital Lennon slept constantly. Peter and I remarked how he slept so much better than his sister already. The nurses warned me that many babies born early sleep well until around their due date and then the trouble begins. They were right, after a few weeks his sleeping habits weren’t nearly as ideal. And I swear it has gotten worse every week since then. Lennon doesn’t nap, and this is not an exaggeration. He really does not nap! At night he sleeps between 6 and 10 hours. But he almost always wakes up several times. He’s slept through the night a few times… but the last time was over a month ago. Oh, and he’s never slept more than 2 hours per night in his crib. I used to be able to get him down in the swing longer, but now he’s outgrowing it so I’ve stopped that. Most of the night he cosleeps with me and daddy. And I use the term sleep loosely.

Lennon loves milk. I thought starting him on solids would be so exciting since he loves to eat so much. But in all honesty, he’s not that interested in solids still. He does love applesauce and pureed carrots, and he doesn’t seem to hate the taste of anything. But he doesn’t really have the patience for this kind of eating. He does enjoy playing with the spoon…. anyways, we still spend many hours a day breastfeeding. My goal was to breastfeed him for a year, but something tells me it’ll be longer.

So long as he’s not hungry and you’re not trying to force sleep on him, Lennon is the happiest little man in the world. And he has the best smile, there’s no way you can see his smile and not catch it! He loves to talk and scream and giggle, a little chatter box just like his sister. None of his words can be understood by adults yet… but he definitely thinks he’s conversing and Lucille seems to think she knows what he’s saying.

Lennon started rolling both ways at about 4 months. But he didn’t enjoy doing it, so it was a rarity. Just these past 2 weeks he’s started enjoying rolling around. He’s not crawling yet, but between rolling and scooching he’s gotten a taste of what it’s like to be mobile. And he likes it… a little too much. He is getting so frustrated that he can’t move around and get the things he wants. I don’t remember this phase with Lucille, so I think it’s a result of him watching his sister enjoy her freedom.

Lennon loves everyone he meets, loves playing peekaboo and hates wearing socks. He has no teeth but I think his bottom right one is about to poke through. When Lennon sees animals he lights up, and he loves books, both reading them and eating them! He’s the very definition of a momma’s boy, which I don’t mind at all. But for the sake of future girlfriends, perhaps I should hope he grows out of this a bit…