Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Potato O'gratin w/ feta and pesto

Potato O'gratin w/ feta and pesto

1 lb new or red potatoes (sliced thin like with a mandolin slicer)

1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese (shredded)

1 cup of feta cheese (crumbled)

1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)

1 sm red onion (diced)

2 tomatoes (diced)

4 Tbs olive oil

3 Tbs pesto

Layer all ingredients starting with potatoes and olive oil (drizzle). Very similar to a lasagna. End with cheese on top. ;) There is really no 'wrong' way to do it.

40 minutes on 400* with foil on (make sure potatoes are cooked to fork tender, it can take longer), then 20 minutes with foil off to brown the top.

You can easily double or triple this ingredient guide and put a couple into the freezer for up to two months. Just take out of the freezer and pop into a 400* oven for 60 minutes with the foil on, 20 minutes with foil off.

I added the foil to the top of the freezer meals and now we have two set up for the next two menu rotations. We were able to buy the cheeses we needed in bulk this way and use them all before they went bad (we don't use feta very often), not to mention the general ease of having a meal made ahead and ready to pop in the oven!

I have spent the last week or so revamping the menu binder to make it perfect for us as well as incorporating breakfast and lunch menus in to save money and time. We are trying to half our grocery budget. I will tell you my plans and post some more menu binder stuff in the next couple days.

***DISCLAIMER***

Blogger has gremlins. It is changing all my spacing to whatever it wants to do which currently has nothing to do with proper grammar or blog etiquette. I will change this post when I can (and when Blogger will let me) to make it easier to read. Until then, please bare with me. (I have even tried writing all the HTML myself, and cut and pasting the picture links. Nope... gremlins)


So I took some advice and got Windows Writer... and now it's all better. :)


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Saturday, March 26, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

More pictures of Luke

Cuz he is just SO cute! :)

These are also from when he was 10 days old, but from another photographer that I had there that same day from Joyful Moments Photography. She has a distinctive editing style and takes beautiful pictures! These are my favorites:

And my personal favorite of that time frame (this is him at 9 days old):

Look how awake and sweet he is!?! So adorable! This is the tail end of a perfect smile that we have seen so many times since he has come. He has the sweetest personality!

I will be back to regular programing soon, but for now, enjoy! Tons of spring crafts will come soon enough. :)

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh thank you hormones... you can go away now.

I am feeling very bi-polar right now. Just as I am between my pregnancy size and my pre-pregnancy size, I am very obviously between pregnancy hormones and the hormones of the not pregnant. This causes mood swings and preferences that only a woman can understand.

And another strange thing... I am cold ALL THE TIME. What is up with that? I have turned up the heat in my house due to new baby and all that, and I am STILL sitting here, wearing three tops, a pair of jeans (only one size bigger than my pre-pregnancy jeans! Woot!), knee socks and shoes. And still cold. Am currently making myself a cup of tea. I'd love to blame it on weight loss, but as I am still currently holding a nice layer of 'belly and thigh' I doubt that's it. Perhaps it's the fact that I am not carrying around a mini-human heater, but I don't remember it being this dramatic with my other children.

Any tips for strange post pregnancy issues?

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We survived! Barely...

Don's first week back at work was NOT a disaster. I did have to take all 4 kids to the doctors, twice. Which was less than fun. Joy of all joys... I got to be 'that mom'. The mom who uses their kids FULL names (loudly) in front of 12 elderly patients who I knew were thinking "oh good God woman, at least some of those kids should be in school, or medicated, or something!"

But persevere we did.

Cyan and Logan had both decided that they needed to take their shoes and socks off in the waiting room. Why? I have NO idea... I stand in the waiting room while putting Logan's shoes on, and have him repeat back to me several times "Mama, I will NOT take off my shoes at the doctors office."

They call Logan's name and we got back to our room with minimal damage. The nurse comes up to get his stats... and the first thing she asks him to do is take off his shoes. Argh!!

We get to the room and I start to talk with the nurse. Then Alex interrupts me. Go back to talking to the nurse. Cyan interrupts me. I tell them both to sit on the floor and perfect twiddling their thumbs. I stare at them with 'that look' until they actually comply. The nurse snickers. Then starts to lecture me on the benefits of immunizations (of which we only get one). Logan starts bouncing on the table with his shoes still off. Lucas starts to cry.

By the time the nurse left I was feeling very stressed.

Comforting the baby, I decide to use that time as a teaching moment for my older children. 'There are younger kids that need you to be good examples.' 'You have times where you just need to sit and be quiet, and those times become more frequent as you get older' 'When it is YOUR doctors apt, it is YOUR time to talk, now is Logan's doctors apt and so that means that no one but me and Logan should be talking.' I got lots of understanding nods.

Then the doctor shows up, and before he has spoken three words one of the older kids interrupts him to ask if they can play 'rock paper scissors' instead of twiddle their thumbs.

Sigh... it is going to be a long couple of weeks.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet dreams... and goodbye to regular food.

Sleep. Such a beautiful thing. And it has been very rare for me to get good sleep for the past 10 months. That was my biggest complaint when pregnant and it has continued into the newborn phase for me. I honestly don't mind getting up a few times a night with the baby. He is so sweet... even at 3am. But lately he has taken to waking up vomiting. That is less fun. And when he is asleep he sounds as though he is in pain. Grunts and movements are normal, but when it turns to whimpering and small cries while still asleep it makes me sad (and also keeps me awake). He sleeps very lightly also. It is pretty clear he has been hurting.

This happened with Logan as well. We had a hard second week until I started an elimination diet to see what was bugging his new little system.

With Logan it was dairy. And blissfully it didn't last forever. (Not sure what I would do without my summer brie, garden tomatoes and basil... I may just wither and die.) By the time he was 4 mos I could eat cheese and yogurt again, and Logan has never been lactose sensitive sense he started eating grown up food... but with Luke, the milk exclusion hasn't been helping. So each night, as he throws up due to whatever is bothering him and he wakes starving... because once again, his tummy is empty. This has happened for two days... about every 45 minutes... all night long.

Time for me to be a food sleuth. I have broken my diet down to nearly nothing, and everything caustic is eliminated. Peppers, dark green leafies (which I love), even portions of meat that have been marinated have been removed. The idea is to eat brown/orange/yellow stuff for a few days, then add in other things to see what he is reacting to. Hopefully I find it. Because there is only so long one can function with such broken sleep and I think I hit my limit a while ago.

So today's diet consisted of Luna bar, half a cup of coffee, mixed raw nuts (cashews and almonds), and rice with butter. I am making a sweet potato and having a tiny bit of pasta with ham for dinner. I really hope this makes tonight easier for both of us.

Because tomorrow Don goes back to work.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The birth story of Lucas Elliott

Unlike any of my other births, this labor started in the late evening. I went to bed, or rather, tried to go to bed, and for the next two hours I had to pee constantly. It wasn't just the feeling either. I actually had liquid in my bladder to get rid of every 10 minutes or so. It was like my body pushed every bit of liquid through me in preparation for labor. Around 11:30 I started to labor. Just small things about this run seemed different. The contractions were coming from the bottom and wrapping around the bottom of my belly. And they were painful. They reminded me of low gas pain.

I laid in bed and watched a comfort movie for the next few hours, getting up to use the bathroom every few minutes, and by the time Don came to bed (around 1am) I was sure this was different. I decided to let Don sleep... I didn't even tell him what I suspected because I felt (and was right) that I would need him rested later. Around 2am I called my best friend and Doula, Sarah. She came over right away. It was such a comfort having her there. We chatted and watched Sense and Sensibility while I sat on my birth ball until around 5am.

I decided that I would try to lay down at that point (after all, I hadn't slept since the night before and my sleep was broken and sporadic normally). My body decided that was the worst idea ever. I had horrible painful contractions, one on top of the other until I got back out of bed about 10 minutes later. Back on the birth ball I go, but at this point I am starting to really get tired.

Around 6:45am the kids wake up. They are getting ready to leave and being generally loud and kidlike. Cyan is so excited she literally pingpongs down the hall way as fast as she can, bumping into walls and sliding on the wood floor in her socks. This felt like spikes being driven into my entire body. It was just too much and my contractions started to slow down.

The kids leave, and I am starting to feel as though all of this is going to stop and I am going to have to call everyone back and say "just kidding!". I am discouraged... but only for about an hour. By 7:25am I called the midwife, because everything had picked up again and every time I stood up my contractions would get longer, harder, and seemed very productive. They were never any consistent distance apart or a consistent length. But from experience with Logan's labor I knew that could continue until the baby was born... so I was pretty darn sure at this point that it was going to happen, and soon.

While Don was gone taking the kids to the sitter's, Sarah filled the birth tub and lit candles. I went and found the stereo and attempted to make a playlist of songs I liked... That wasn't happening. I would guess I was close to transition at this point. So instead I just hit the 'classical' button and played that.

I decided that I wanted to take a shower. I had been working for a long time at this point. I felt pretty gross and most of all, cold. I am not sure why, but each time I phased into a different part of labor this time, I would get cold shakes... they felt like I had a fever, but I didn't. I just was cold and shaky.

The midwife arrives along with her apprentice. It is 8:45am.

At this point I start to want to turn in. But the spot where I have chosen to labor, although perfect when dark outside... that morning there were spots of snow on the ground. The sun was out and streaming through the sliding glass door. So to turn in I started to bury my face in Don's clothes. Sarah and the midwives apprentice try to get me darker curtains, but I don't really have any, so it stays very bright in the room and it makes it harder and harder for me to 'turn in' and be comfortable.

I climb into the tub and try different positions to get comfortable, but the tub is too short, the light is too bright and I keep having to support myself on my elbows during contractions, which brings all but the very bottom of my belly out of the water. No comfort there. At one point I yelled "Dammit! None of my tricks are working!" And that was how I felt. I had a plan, and I just couldn't get into the groove... I felt quite hopeless at this point. Not just transitioning hopeless, but like I had planned badly. It was the strangest thought... but I kept having it every time I would try to get settled to actually push a baby out. Don and the midwife started talking me through contractions. Don telling me how wonderful I was, and the midwife giving me tips on breathing and ways to relax. This helped a bit, at least it gave me something to focus on, but I was very frustrated.

Then, the baby moved. Not just moved, but started coming... no pushing, no work from me at all. In fact, I feel like I had to move my leg so it wouldn't be in the way. And I was just about right. Next contraction and my water broke with a huge GUSH, next one (less than a minute later) he was out. Head, body and all. It was almost a shock it happened SO fast. (I thought for a while that he hit the bottom of the birth pool. Midwife reassured me she was there to catch him, but admits she only had a few seconds to do so.)

He was moved strait to my arms and skin to skin. There was tons of vernix in the water and on him. And as we rubbed his back and checked him out he started to cry and we all started to relax.

I can hardly describe what came over me next. I had been SO frustrated for SO long. The long, hard, overdue pregnancy, the night labor, even not being able to find my birthing spot... all of it was so frustrating! But like a magic spell in one of those movies (Willow comes to mind with the 'dust of broken heart')... I was instantly in love. Compassionately and completely in love. It was an incredible feeling. And not one that had come over me so strongly or so quickly with any of my other births. It was like a high...

We hung out in the birth tub for a while. Verified that he was in fact, a little boy. We touched him and talked with him, wrapping him in a blanket, hat, and my arms. Don whispering words of love and affection for both of us as the flurry of birth activity calmed down. I just could not stop staring at him. He was stunning. He was perfect. And I was in love. Then the baby looked up in that blinky, punch drunk, sleepy-newborn way... and he smiled!! Don and I both saw it and were floored. But he smiled! He hadn't even been born 30 minutes. We talked about it a couple times, writing it off as a fluke, until the next day when he did it again! And then every day since we have gotten smiles from this sweet new babe. It was like he was just as happy to be here as we were to meet him.

The placenta came slowly, but when it did come, I was moved to the bedroom and we started to check out this new little person.

Wow, was he a big boy. 9lbs, 9oz and 22.5 inches long. My longest baby by a full inch (that includes Logan, who was 5oz bigger). He hardly cried at all. Just watched the people who were working with him as though in awe of his new world.

He settled to the breast as if he was made for it, latching on in seconds and falling asleep while still nursing a few minutes later.

There have been some pretty big bumps in the recovery road, but through it all I have kept that awe and bliss feeling for the past two weeks, just being completely in love with this little critter to the point where I could spend hours just watching him sleep (and I have).

Speaking of which.... he is up from his nap and I have the joy of going to snuggle with him again. *love*

Peace and blessings my friends.

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Lucas Elliott ~ 10 days old

My brother and another photographer friend came over and took some incredible shots of the baby yesterday! (More to come)


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