ABC’s of Blogging

This was a lot of fun. I’ve been seeing this going around and I’m glad I participated. Elaine and Jennifer are hosting this month. So here it goes.

A. Attached or Single?Attached. We’ve been married for almost seven years. We met on a blind date and it was love at first sight.

B. Best Friend? I would like to think my husband. I also have a childhood best friend that I feel probably knows me more than anyone.  That’s an important person to have.

C. Cake or pie? Cake, if I make it. I love baking. I used to have a cupcake business (before babies).

D. Day of choice? My days all blur together anymore so I don’t really have one. Lol, I usually never know what day it is.

E. Essential Item? Lipgloss, I feel instantly better when I have it on. Although, I would say for me it would also be my contacts because I am blind as a bat.

F. Favorite Color? To wear, probably pink or yellow. When I was little I hated pink. I wouldn’t let my Mum put me in it because it was to girly. I love it now. I also like wearing yellow because it’s a happy color.

G. Gummy bears or worm? Yeah, not really a fan of either. If you twisted my arm to eat one, I’d eat whichever was sour.

H. Hometown? Not where I am now.:)

I. Favorite Indulgence? A long soak in a hot bath with scented epsom salt and a glass of red wine while listening to Mumford and Sons. I don’t get enough of those moments.

J. January or July? Hands down July, January is to cold.

K. Kid? A boy and a girl that are 13 months apart. My oldest is 2 months from two.  Oh boy, that’s scary!

L. Life isn’t complete without? My babies and husband. I couldn’t live without the joy of traveling to far off places either.

M. Marriage date? *

N. Number of brothers/sisters? *

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples, Honeycrisp are my favorite but they’re hard to find.

P. Phobias? Hmmm, elevators freak me out. Not big on caves or being in water that I can’t see the bottom.

Q. Quotes? “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Thoreau

R. Reasons to smile? My children, my husband, travel, and being healthy.

S. Season of choice? I love when everything comes alive in the Spring. I also love when leaves turn and they are falling to the ground in Fall. I love the crunch beneath my feet.

T. Tag 5 People. Dana, Jodi, Steffany, Stephanie, Keryn

U. Unknown fact about me? I got whooping cough right after our honeymoon. I was in bed or on the couch for three months. It was the worst experience.

V. Vegetable? My new favorite vegetable is parsnips. I make a killer parsnip puree.

W. Worst habit? Being hard on myself!

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound is probably better for you. All the ultrasounds I’ve had were for good things.

Y. Your favorite food? Give it to me European style with a platter of assorted meats, cheeses, tomatoes, and fresh baked bread…and a bottle of wine. I’m in heaven.

Z. Zodiac sign? Gemini

If you want to participate just copy the questions onto your blog and go for it. Make sure you link up with Elaine or Jennifer.

Shredded Beef Tacos

These shredded beef tacos are mouthwatering good! My husband drank the drippings and my 21 month old cleaned his plate. This is a great recipe to throw in the crockpot and not worry about it. Spend some time with your kids and assemble tacos when ready.

Ingredients:

  • Chuck Roast
  • 2 bottles of Angry Orchard Beer
  • Medium Yellow Onion chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced in fourths
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
  • Kosher Salt and Ground Pepper
  • Olive Oil for searing
  • Crockpot and dutch oven

Instructions:

  1. Cut enough slits in roast for your garlic slices. Then push sliced garlic into slits.
  2. Liberally season both sides of roast with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil at medium – high heat in heavy bottom pan or dutch oven. I put enough olive oil into pan so that it covers the bottom.
  4. Sear roast on all sides and then remove to crockpot. Pour one bottle of Angry Orchard beer into the crockpot with roast.
  5. Pour the other bottle of Angry Orchard beer into pan. Scrape all the brown goodness off the bottom of your pan.
  6. Add chopped onions, cumin, brown sugar, and chili powder.
  7. Stir and let cook down for about 10 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.
  8. Remove from heat and add to crockpot.
  9. If pushed for time set crockpot on high for 6 hours, which is what I did. If you have the time I’d go low and slow.
  10. When finished, remove roast to a bowl and shred it with a fork. Add the juice. We do this so you can assemble tacos at your table.

We also use La Tiara Authentic Mexican taco shells. They are thin taco shells so assemble one at a time (with meat on top) so they don’t get soggy. We really prefer the flavor of those taco shells but you can use any. Use a fork to pull meat out of bowl as well to keep tacos from getting soggy.

We added sour cream, shredded colby jack cheese, cilantro, and home-ade guacamole to complete our tacos. We usually add salsa but didn’t do that with these. The flavor is just to good on their own!

Liberally salt with kosher salt and ground pepper. Put slits in meat for the garlic.

Get a good sear on all sides of meat.

Add Angry Orchard beer to pot after you’ve removed the meat to crockpot. Scrape the brown off the bottom.

Cook down the beer, onions, and spices until thickened. Doesn’t it look delicious?

The roast is sufficiently drunk now. Time to shred the meat.

YUMMY!!!

Sibling Love

Two babies so close together can be difficult. Fortunately, I don’t know any different. There are days when I wonder if I can drag myself through. Every inch of my body and brain is just tired and beat up. We all have those days as mothers, where you feel like you have been thoroughly put through the ringer in every way.

On this day, Bigs was extremely grumpy. He was being very jealous of Lil and making sure I knew about it by screaming, throwing things, and generally just trying my patience.

Really?!? Is it going to be like this all day. This is one of those days where I could have run down the street crying.

Then… something amazing happened…

A moment between the kids I hadn’t seen before. Bigs walked over to his sister and sat beside her to watch Thomas. What happened next brought tears to my eyes. It’s like they had this moment of him telling her he’d always protect her and she knew it to be true. In this moment, my heart felt overwhelmed with love for my little babies. Seeing the interaction and tenderness between the two of them is just incomparable. It’s nothing we taught them, just the natural compassion in there sweet little hearts.

My big brother!

Thank you! Thank you for allowing me to have these blessings in my life every day! Moments like this make all the hard stuff disappear.

Mojito Madness

It was a beautiful weekend and all I could think was summer is almost here. Nothing screams summer to me more than a Mojito. Since I’ve been pregnant the last two summers, I’ve had to drink them minus the rum. You’d be surprised that it tastes almost as good alcohol free. So for all you pregnant ladies here is your refreshing drink to replace the same old glass of water in the summertime. If you’re not pregnant, bring on the rum!

Try it.

Mojito Ingredients:

  • 1/2 – 1 lime  (depends how much you like lime. I went with 1)
  • 2 tsp – 4 tsp. sugar  (depends on your sweetness level)
  • Club Soda  (I prefer Schweppes)
  • 8 Large mint leaves
  • 2 oz Rum  (omit the rum if you want alcohol free, trust me, it’s still good)
  • Ice
    Also need:
  • Cocktail shaker  (bottom only)
  • Muddler

Directions:

  1. Halve and quarter your lime and place in your glass.
  2. Remove your mint leaves from stem and place in glass.
  3. Add your sugar.
  4. Muddle these three ingredients together.
  5. Add your ice to fill the glass.
  6. You can add your rum at this point if you choose.
  7. Fill your glass with club soda.
  8. I pour my mojito from my glass to bottom of shaker and back a few times until blended together well. (Don’t shake in shaker)
  9. I slice a lime and add to glass just to make it look pretty.

Yummy and Enjoy!

Oh Just Cuss Up!

I’m possessed! Someone with a much fouler vocabulary has taken over my mouth. I didn’t grow up in a cussing household, quite to the contrary actually. Even as I got older I very rarely let out a cuss word. I never felt it was necessary to get my point across, until…

I became a mother! More precisely a mother of two under two! I can’t tell you the times in a day I find myself muttering a cuss word under my breath. The cuss words are never uttered at my children or in earshot. Let me tell you, every other inanimate object has heard from me. I’ve really told the air where to go on numerous occasions.

No, my cussing is usually aimed at the many toys I stub my toe on or trip over on a regular basis. Or the many different pieces of food my son throws on the floor and I inevitably step on. Or the numerous times I’m traipsing up and down the stairs to get my daughter to fall asleep. It could also be the constant loading and unloading of the dishwasher, with always a stack still waiting. Its even the pile of dirty laundry taunting me or the clean laundry awaiting its final destination. Trust me, it’s going nowhere fast.

Even a few infamous cuss words have escaped my lips recently out of ear shot of my husband, out of frustration over said husband. I just don’t think men have a clue of what we go through mentally or physically! I am totally convinced they would not survive a day alone with the children. Commence cussing when I’m up since 6:00 and husband sleeps in until 8:30! This is usually preceded by a night that I was up with one or both children while he lay snoring. @#*!

In utter frustration and exhaustion I’ve even shot off the F word a few times to his face recently. Shock and awe! This was never a word I uttered before becoming a haggard and exhausted mother. My good friends know me for my line of “Are you kidding me” with hands gesturing wildly through the air! Even my tagline has taken a turn for the worse and is hanging out in the sewer with the insertion of the F word. This is usually blurted out upon being awoke by one of the children only a few hours after I have fallen asleep. Just give me a … break!

At this point, I wonder if I should start a cuss jar and then use that money to treat myself to a little me time. At the rate I’m going I could afford a trip to Tahiti! Who am I kidding, there would be no one to watch the kids.

Ok, well let me just go cuss into my glass of wine while pinning decorative ideas for a cuss jar!

 

Alright, I just couldn’t wait. Bought supplies and poured a glass of wine!

Supplies: Chalkboard paint, Blue Painter’s Tape, Glass Canister

Tape off a square with painter’s tape. I also taped on paper towels to cover the rest of canister from overspray. Spray smooth even coat.

Let paint dry 20 minutes. Grab your chalk and woot woot you have a college fund cuss jar. I hope I gave you a laugh, have fun!

Bourbon Mint Marinated Pork Tenderloin

What a great weekend we had for grilling out. This mint bourbon marinade is one of the best recipes my husband has put together. We frequently use this on pork tenderloin and salmon. It was hard to get a recipe down because my husband never measures out his ingredients. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

1 or 2 Pork Tenderloins

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 or 1 1/2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (Jack Daniels or Woodford Reserve)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 4 chopped garlic gloves

NOTE: We grilled ours on the Big Green Egg with indirect heat at 400 degrees.

For the oven:

  1. In a blender, combine all marinade ingredients. Blend for 1 minute or until mint and garlic are blended well.
  2. Pour marinade over pork in a shallow baking dish. Move the pork tenderloin around to make sure it all gets covered.
  3. Let marinate for at least a half an hour.
  4. Heat Big Green Egg to 400 degrees or get your grill going.
  5. Grill for approximately 20 minutes. I prefer to grill pork tenderloin until internal temperature is 145 degrees. This allows for the pork tenderloin to still be slightly pink and stay moist. Adjust your grill time accordingly. Let the pork tenderloin rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  6. While the pork tenderloin is grilling, bring marinade up to a boil in a pan. Reduce heat and simmer. This can then be drizzled over finished pork.

Can’t go wrong with bourbon!

We served our pork tenderloin with carrots and parsnips that we sautéed in a pan with olive oil.

Free Family Fun

Free family fun, does that still exist? We found some at a local County Fair this past weekend and we had an awesome time! Bigs is really into animals right now so when our friend told us the fair had a petting zoo we thought we’d give it a try. To be honest, our expectations were not very high. We imagined the petting zoo to be a little pen with some chickens, cows, and goats.

To our surprise, there were hundreds and hundreds of animals! I don’t know who had more fun, Bigs or me. Now, just be grateful this post doesn’t have smell-a-vision. Wooeee, the smell was awful but the experience was one of a kind!

The first treat for Bigs was seeing a big tractor in person.

Now, for me a must have at a County Fair is a funnel cake. It’s just not a County Fair without one. I mean how can you pass up fried dough with powdered sugar. I sure can’t! It’s a good thing the funnel cake was good because the rest of the food was awful.

Now, one of the highlights for me was the rabbits. This is strange because I’ve never had an affinity for them. In fact, lately I’ve been cussing out the rabbits getting into my vegetable garden. There were probably a hundred different kinds of rabbits. It was so amazing to see all of them. My husband strolled off with the kids and left me because I couldn’t tear myself away from them.

We didn’t know that they were also selling animals at the fair. Now, it’s a good thing this little guy was already sold because both my husband and I wanted to bring him home with us. Two kids under two, three dogs, sure let’s throw in a rabbit.

These are some of the other amazing looking rabbits. Again, who knew!

Once they finally pulled me away from the rabbits. It was on to the hundred different kinds of chicken and roosters. This was also exciting for us because we’ve recently considered getting a few hens in a backyard run for eggs. Again, I don’t have my hands full or anything. Husband had to leave me again because Lil was not excited about the Roosters. Every time they crowed she started to cry. They were pretty noisy.

So, the rabbits were my highlight. Bigs favorite animal was probably the cows! Who knew cows liked to lick like dogs. Bigs and I both got some tongue action from the cows. Not like that, get your mind out of the gutter.

There were hundreds of different kinds of cows but this pretty girl was my favorite. She had such a pretty face and was so sweet.

Bigs next favorite animal was the goats. It was such a fun moment to capture. It’s an amazing thing to see the world through your kid’s eyes. He was so excited that he could feed the goats.

I’m not really a pig person. I’ll eat them though, haha! I was glad when my husband took Bigs into see the baby pigs instead of me. This ended rather quickly once he started to pull the little piggy’s tails!

After hours of exhausting fun. We walked through the rides on the way out. Bigs was fascinated by the movement and lights. Lil by this point had her fill and just wanted to sleep.

I can’t express how much fun we had! To find free family fun these days is a rarity.

Thanks for joining in our weekend fun.

Have you come across any free family fun? Please share, I love comments.

Let’s Get Planting

It’s that time again, and I’m so excited. This weekend we had beautiful weather. We could finally think about planting. Weather is crazy though, we then had freezing temperatures two days later. It felt so good to be outside weeding my vegetable garden. Yes, I really did say that. I had two summers in a row of being very pregnant in 100 degree weather. I don’t mind being crouched down in my garden sweating it out, 40 pounds lighter.

I grew up in the country and we had a huge vegetable garden. We either ate our vegetables fresh or canned them to have through the winter. Gardening is something I thoroughly enjoy. I also think it will be good for the kids to learn how to plant something and watch it grow. There is nothing better than fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden. So, I thought I’d share our first enjoyable weekend working outside.

Ok, nice weather equals cute spring outfits for the trip to the plant store. I had so much fun with Bigs. He was modeling for the camera. His whole outfit was from Target. Really, that place is taking all my money.

We always overdo it with the plants. We overfilled our cart and had to get a trailer for our trees. The drought last year wasn’t friendly to our trees in the back yard.

Bigs thinks he can move the wheelbarrow with the tree. What a little helper he has become. It was really amusing watching his frustration that he couldn’t move it.

So, this was my garden when I started to weed two weeks ago. I never thought I would see the end. This was the worst it has ever been.

Finally, finally, finally I see dirt! It took me way to long but I am much closer to planting. I still need to till and fill with more of my magic growing dirt which I’ll post later. Hooray!

Saggy Baggy Summer

As women who’ve had babies, we’ve all had our issues with what pregnancy does to our bodies. Some of us will be forever cursed with stretch marks, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids (ahem) that won’t go away. I recently had a different discovery. I was drying off after a shower and bent over in my birthday suit, and caught a glimpse of my stomach. It startled me to realize that I may never look the same again. Literally, everything, (and I mean everything) on my body has shifted in transit.

I realized my stomach now looked like the main character in a favorite childhood book. You guessed it…I was now The Saggy Baggy Elephant. You see, our poor skin can only take so much before it screams, no way, huh uh! I’ve had it! There is no possible way it’s going back in place.

I am fascinated by the fact that I can pull the excess skin away from my body. I almost can’t help myself from playing with all the folds of skin. As I’m shopping for bathing suits for our upcoming beach trip, I now face the realization that saggy baggy is here to stay.

I decided to pull the old book out and see how accurate the summation of my new body is. As I perused the pages, I found another photo that reminded me of a very pregnant self. If I had done a pregnant self portrait soaking in the bath, this would be it. I began to wonder if the author of The Saggy Baggy Elephant had been a women.

This will go down as my saggy baggy summer!

Congenital Hypothyroidism: Letter To My Daughter

LETTER TO MY LITTLE GIRL
WRITTEN SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

To my sweet little girl… On Monday, September 17th, your Daddy and I showed up at the hospital to give birth to you. We didn’t know what we were having but were pretty convinced you would be our second boy. To our shock and amazement, our sweet doctor said you were a girl. We all cried tears of joy that you were finally here safe and sound. We had a couple scares during pregnancy but we made it to your due date. We were so happy to finally name a baby girl. You were so beautiful with a full head of dark hair and gray blue eyes. Your temp was low and you had a broken clavicle but we were able to take you home the next day. You were such a great baby.

On Friday, September 21st, at 4:06 pm I got a call I will never forget. I was in the glider nursing you and your Pediatrician called. She started to say words like blood work, abnormalities, and Congenital Hypothyroidism. I’m sorry, what did you say? I was in shock, and couldn’t grasp what she was telling me. All I could do was look down at you and think, this isn’t possible. This isn’t possible for anything to be wrong with my beautiful little angel. I had to have her repeat everything to your Daddy because I just couldn’t process it.

They had gotten your bloodwork back from the hospital and realized that your thyroid numbers were not in the normal range. Your thyroid was either not working or working very little. They believed you had Congenital Hypothyroidism. She said to take you to the hospital immediately to have your blood retested. By the time we arrived at the hospital we were terrified in to silence. From the things your pediatrician had told us and what we read on the internet we learned how devastating this diagnosis could be. Congenital hHpothyroidism is the leading cause of mental retardation in babies. These babies wouldn’t develop mentally or physically. How is this possible…?

My heart broke for you as you cried getting your blood drawn. You were so tiny and precious. While we were in the lab, we received another phone call from your Pediatrician. She had already called Childrens Hospital and spoken to a Pediatric Endocrinologist. I was told you were to start medication immediately. They sent us for blood work just as a formality. Your numbers were so bad that you probably didn’t have a thyroid at all. You were to take two pills tonight, two in morning, two the next day and one everyday for the rest of your life. Your blood would need to be drawn on a regular basis to make sure that your levels stayed in the correct area. Was this happening? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This was just a bad dream. We had never heard of Congenital Hypothyroidism.

We were heartbroken. We were devastated. You would have to take this medication for the rest of your life. Your Pediatrician was reassuring that since it was found early it was manageable. Getting the medication quickly and taking it consistently was key. If you didn’t get this medication your brain wouldn’t develop, your growth may be hindered, it was dire. Hours, days, weeks matter with this diagnosis and receiving medication.

You started medication on the fourth day of your precious tiny life. It was hard to grasp that one pill every day was so critically important to your development. One pill could completely change your life.

It is an unbearable pain to know that something is wrong with our precious little baby and we can’t solve it. We can’t make it go away. We love you so much and it breaks our heart when we hold you in our arms, look at you, and know we are helpless. We have given you a pill everyday since. We have your blood drawn again next week to see if the medicine is working and we have an appointment with the Pediatric Endocrinologist in a few weeks. We are holding our breath and worried sick until then, hoping that your meds are working.

I am so, so, sorry we can’t fix this. I am so sorry that we can’t make it go away. We love you so much and you have brought such joy to our lives in just the nine days you’ve been with us. You are our precious baby girl. Please, please let the meds be working…