Sunday, April 14, 2013

Crock Pot Meals

Before Archer was born, I made several crock pot freezer meals. It took the better part of one day (including shopping) but was really worth it!!! We started with about 20 meals total, and have whittled them down to our favorites! So I wanted to share those with you! I have several friends who were asking about these recipes, so here you go!!!

By the way, I used frozen chicken for these recipes. You are going to freeze them anyway, and bags of frozen chicken at Sam's Club is MUCH cheaper than buying all of the chicken fresh!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Rosemary
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • black pepper
  • rosemary
Brush chicken with oil, season with pepper and a generous amount of rosemary and minced garlic. Wrap in bacon. Put into gallon bag and freeze. Put in refrigerator 24 hours prior to eating. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes OR cook in crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Sloppy Tamale Pie
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded or finely diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can olives, sliced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 15oz cans of tomato sauce
  • cornbread for serving (optional)
Brown ground beef or turkey, carrot, zucchini, onion, and bell pepper until done. Drain and cool. Add to a gallon bag with remaining ingredients. Freeze. Thaw and cook in crockpot on low 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve “sloppy joe style” over cornbread.

Enchilada Wraps
  • 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16oz can of chili beans
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 12oz can of beer or broth
  • 2 10oz cans of rotel, undrained
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips for serving (optional)
Combine all ingredients into gallon bag. Freeze. Thaw and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Shred chicken after cooking and serve with optional garnishes.

Slow Cooker BBQ SpareRibs
  • 1-2 lbs of country style pork ribs
  • 1.5 cups of ketchup
  • 1.5 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
Place pork in gallon bag. Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour over pork. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-7 hours.

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
  • 1.5lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 16oz bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 16oz jars Alfredo sauce
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 4oz can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
  • Fettuccine noodles (for after meal is cooked- DO NOT ADD TO BAG)
Put all ingredients in gallon bag and mix together. Freeze. Thaw for 24 hours in refrigerator. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with fettuccine noodles.

French Dip Sandwiches

  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck roast
  • 2-3 cans beef consomme (found in the soup aisle)
  • small can of sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 6-8 hoagie buns
  • provolone or mozzarella cheese
Place roast in bag with consomme and mushrooms, freeze. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Cook on low 8-11 hours or high 5-7 hours. Remove roast from crock pot and save extra juice for dipping. Shred meat and serve on buns with cheese.

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
  • 1.5lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in gallon bag and freeze. Thaw for 24 hours in refrigerator. Cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours. Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving (optional).

Chicken and Stuffing Crock Pot


  • 4 thawed chicken breasts
  • 6oz package of Stove Top Stuffing (I use the chicken flavored)
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
Put chicken in crock pot. Pour stuffing mix over the chicken. Mix sour cream, soup, and ¼ cup of water in small bowl, then add to crock pot. Cook on low 4 hours.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Archer is 4 Months

Someone is getting hungry, so I am on borrowed time here! So this will be super quick!

Archer, you are 4 months old!!!!!



You are about somewhere around 15lbs 7oz. You have lost a little weight recently because you had an ear infection and the antibiotic upset your tummy a bit. But I have no doubt you will gain it back!


You are still very long, and are in the higher percentiles for sure! You measured 26" at our nutrition appointment yesterday, but we had a hard time getting you to stretch out. But even at 26", that puts you in the 75-90%! I will try to update your weight and length after your 4 month check up on monday.


You now wear all 3-6 and 6-9 month clothes, more and more 6-9 month. Some 12 month stuff is starting to fit if it runs small. You have really big feet and wear 12 month socks. You wear size 3 diapers now.


Arch, Bub, Bubs, Bubba, Brother, Chubs, Chunky Monkey, BuddaBall, Chubbers, Archie-Boy (I am the only one who is allowed to call him that...he will NOT be called "Archie" if I can help it!)


You are exclusively breastfed, and will take a bottle if you have to (of breast milk). But you won't take it from me at all! You love to eat and are eating every 3-4 hours usually. Although sometimes you still want to eat every 1-2 (I think that is when you are going through a growth spurt). You nurse for about 10-20 minutes on one side at a feeding, and it seems to work pretty well for us! I can now pretty much eat anything I want, and you handle it well thanks to your reflux medicine! You have started going about 5 or 6 hours each night, which has been nice! You eat around 10-11, then not again until 3 or 4.


You are sleeping more and more at night these days, and I LOVE IT! Still not through the night, but I am hopeful! The last couple of weeks you have regressed some, and you still don't like taking naps. But I am going to try to solidify your routine soon, so I think that will help.

Fun Stuff- some are the same from months 1 and 2!

* You smile and laugh a lot!

* You love your owl mobile that is on your pack & play. That is about the only way I am able to get a shower these days!

* You love to bat at things and love to stare at yourself in the mirror and look at lights and fans!

* You have started tolerating your carseat better, which has been nice!

* You surprisingly enjoy bathtime and it seems to calm you down.

* You still love to be naked! You just smile and smile when you are stripped down!

* You are more content to just be held without having to be moving. I think now that you are seeing more and noticing more, the movement isn't as important for your sensory input. (listen to me, all OTish! HAHA!)

* You are only fussy in the evenings now, and those times seem to be getting shorter and shorter!

* You love to sit up in my lap, look around, and especially look at our faces and the cross wall!

* You hold your head up so well and are very strong. You are really starting to enjoy tummy time as long as you have a mirror or book to look at!

* You rolled over from your back to your tummy the other night! Then you decided you hated it so you rolled back over! It was so fun!

* You have started taking a paci on a regular basis. It still isn't "needed" for you, but you will take it and enjoy it some, too.

* You are super gassy and have really stinky toots! But most of the time it doesn't bother you!
* You can almost sit up on your own, and I think you will be tripod sitting in the next month!
* You lift your head and shoulders to try to sit up, especially if you are on an inclined surface like your carseat or nap nanny. You are SO STRONG!
* You are very tolerant of your sister, and have really started watching and smiling at her. I think the two of you are going to be very close!
* You still prefer mommy, but are starting to really like that daddy guy, too!

Archer- happy 4 month birthday!!! We love you so much and you have brought so much joy and happiness to our lives! We love you!

~Mommy, Daddy, and Sister (Ava)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dear My First Time Mommy Self...

I am not a parenting expert (and really, what does that mean anyway!?). I don't claim to be the best mommy in the world- I count days where my kids are clean, fed, and not in PJs a success. And Lord knows I have more questions than answers about being a mom. But there are some things that I wish I could go back and tell myself before having Ava. So I wanted to share them- for myself, and for my first time mom friends. I hope this offers some encouragement to your new life!

*It doesn't matter if you have a sitter, you will never leave your child (mentally, at least). But don't dwell on that too much- it will only add to the exhaustion.

*Getting frustrated is normal and expected. And it is okay. Put the baby down in a safe place (screaming and all) and walk outside. Take a little break. IT IS OKAY.

*Take the Newborn Care Class lecture about not shaking the baby seriously. Because, no matter how "educated" or "above that" you think you are, you will be tempted. It will be 3 am after 5 hours of screaming and no sleep. But you will be tempted.

*There are a lot of trappings that go into having a baby these days. But you really NEED very little.

*Don't spend your time comparing your child to your friends' kids. Spend your time enjoying your own!

*Put your phone down and talk to your baby.

*Don't worry too much about having 20 of everything in every size. You won't need half.

*Breastfeeding doesn't make you a great parent. Formula feeding doesn't make you a bad parent. Those who will tell you otherwise...don't listen to them. Do what is best for you and your baby.

*Just because dad/grandma/aunt does something differently than you do doesn't mean that they are doing it wrong. Most of the time, anyway.

*Don't worry about what people think about you when it comes to the well being of your child. They will get over it- baby comes first.

*Your living room will have toys. Your car will have crumbs. Your clothes will get poop and puke on them. And it will all be okay.

*Your pediatrician went to medical school, but you carried that little person inside you for 9+ months, and your instincts deserve some credence, too.

*It is okay to ask for help and take a break. Really. No one will think less of you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Bunny & A Bed

I have been busy with mom stuff lately- fussy sick baby, hosting Easter, etc.- so I am combining two posts in one. So forgive me!

Item #1: EASTER

We had a wonderful Easter, and I am so thankful for so many things! We actually got to attend church! Church has been a difficult thing for a while now, simply because Ava is older and stronger, and there really isn't a place for her at our church. But we love our church and didn't really want to find a new church home. My sister and her family, as well as several of our friends, go to our church, and it is where Ava is baptized. It is also the first church Cole and I joined as a married couple. We just really love it and want to stay. I have been talking to our WONDERFUL children & youth minister for a while now about the possibility of starting a special needs ministry at our church. A few weeks ago, we met with Emily (our children's minister) and her friend Ally (who is an OT student and the daughter of one of my friends from my old work). Ally is starting the special needs program at our church as part of her OT program requirements, and she graciously agreed to keep Ava in the nursery at church on Easter for us! It felt SO good to be IN church again! I forgot how much I missed it! I had to sit out front and watch the service on the tv for the first little bit, because Archer was NOT a fan of the music! But he nursed and slept through the service, and made googly eyes and flirted with the women behind us! So I think it was a hit with him too! And Ava, of course, had a blast!



When I found out I was pregnant with Archer, we had already been talking to my dad about building Ava a big girl enclosed bed. The commercial ones were just ugly and I was worried about having her in a bed enclosed with netting for several reasons. But when we found out the crib was going to be needed, and we had a deadline, the project went into high gear. But the fact that it is an original design, has some special and complicated hardware, and is massive slowed the project way down. Not to mention the fact that my dad has a full time job and there were some family illnesses mixed in to the timeline. But a few weeks ago, the bed came together-literally- and Ava has been enjoying her completed big girl room- WITH BED- since then! She absolutely loves it, and I almost think she would sleep in it without it being enclosed! Almost. :)


How the bed looks when she is sleeping.

How the bed looks when she is awake. We are going to add crown moulding to it at a later time.

Her Pop put her name on it!


The rest of the room...