Monday, December 31, 2012

Baby Lessons #1 - Just a few fun tips I've learned so far.

When I was pregnant I pinned so many advice lists about being pregnant, having a new baby, what to take to the hospital, etc. it was a little crazy.  I actually read them all too, sometimes twice.  So, I was thinking about some of the things I have learned so far since Baby Boy came into the world on September 11th and I thought I'd share a few.  This is just a random few.  There is so much more.  Plus, he's only 3 months old, so I still have lots to learn.  I think I will keep adding to the list every couple of weeks, so check back every once in awhile.

Photo by Melissa Robinson Photography

1. Every baby is different. They all have their own little personalities.  What is awesome for one baby/mommy may not be what is awesome for you and your baby.  This is the most important thing to remember about EVERYTHING.

 2. Relax. I was so obsessed concerned with helping my baby become a good sleeper and trying to get him on a schedule that I was tracking every time he would sleep and would stress over any little thing that was out of the ordinary.  Finally, my sister just told me to go with it.  And I did.  The kid put himself on his own schedule that was just like what he was "supposed" to do according the sleep book that was recommended to me by EVERYONE- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

3.  Invest in good swaddle blankets.  I LOVE the Aden & Anais blankets.  They're big and lightweight which is nice in Florida.  At night I use the Summer Swaddle Me blanket because it has velcro and stays put.  Baby Boy HAD to be swaddled to sleep from Day 1 and he continues to need and want to be swaddled now at 3 1/2 months old.  I've tried not swaddling him, but he has a really hard time falling asleep and wakes up in a panic.  Poor kid.  So, against the advice of the pediatrician (he told me I should try to not wrap him up anymore at his 3 month appointment), he still gets swaddled.  I figure he'll grow out of it in time, but until then I like a baby that sleeps 10 hours a night.

4.  Don't buy clothes with collars for the first 3 months.  In fact, don't buy shirts that aren't onesies.  I know, I know, you want your baby to look like a little man in all these cute button-ups, but babies don't have necks. They have double chins.  Collars with no neck = fail.  The poor kids look miserable with their shirts in their little mouths.  Seriously.  And if you put your kid in a shirt that's not a onesie you'll be pulling it down constantly.  It's annoying.

5.  You will seriously love your baby.  Ya, duh, right?  Obviously, I knew I would love my baby, but I had NO idea how much I would love the little guy.  I don't think anything can prepare you for it because it's really a love like no other. True unconditional love. It's amazing.

Friday, December 28, 2012

High 5 For Friday


1.  One of my new Christmas presents, the Ninja Kitchen System.  I'm super excited to try this thing out.  It's a blender, juicer, food processor, and a mixer.  

2.  Santa on Baby Boy's butt.  C'mon, that's cute.

3.  Pitch Perfect- it's kinda like Dodgeball meets Glee and it makes me feel young again.

4. My favorite thing for our Favorite Things party this year- key fobs.  Never thought I would think this was a favorite thing, but these are great.  Just slip your keys on wrist and they are never lost or left anywhere again.  Very useful when you're always toting around a baby.
I got all of these from a little Etsy shop called KellysKnack.

5.  Okay, this first time Santa went a bit overboard.  Fun!

Linking up with Lauren at My Grey Desk Blog #H54F

Photobucket Let Them Eat Cake

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Embrace the Camera 12/27


A little bit of fun from Christmas.  
Baby Boy's Bambi stuffed animal he got from his Abuelita.  
He obviously loves it.



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pizza Pull Apart Bread

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas with their family and friends.  
Mine was amazing- celebrating my baby's first Christmas. 

Here's a tasty appetizer that you can make for your next get together.  I recently made it for our 2nd annual My Favorite Things Party.  It's actually really easy and it's good! Christmas may be over, but there's still New Years parties and maybe even better - Football Bowl parties.  I know this household will be watching the Rose Bowl (Wisconsin fans) and most definitely the Sugar Bowl (my husband is a HUGE Gator fan), so I will probably be making this again soon.  I originally pinned this recipe from In The Kitchen With KP.

Ingredients

2 cans Pillsbury pizza dough (you could always make your own too)
1 package pepperoni
2 cups (or one 8 oz. bag) of mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup of your favorite dipping oil (I used olive oil mixed with some Italian seasoning)
Garlic powder



1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Open up the dough and roll into bite size pieces.


2.  Lightly coat dough in dipping oil and place in bundt cake pan for first layer.  I didn't roll every single piece in oil.  I did about every other piece to add the flavor.


3.  Next, layer the pepperoni on top of the dough.  I cut the pepperoni in half (or smaller), so it would be easier to pull apart later.


4.  Next, layer cheese and sprinkle garlic salt over all of the cheese.


5.  Repeat layers again, ending with dough pieces. I usually layer until about 2/3 of the pan is full.


6.  Bake in oven 30-40 minutes until browned and cooked through.

7.  Remove from oven and invert pan on a cooling rack or plate.  Bread will stay in one piece.


Serve by pulling the bread apart into individual servings with optional marinara dipping sauce on the side.  Enjoy!







Friday, December 21, 2012

High 5 for Friday


It's all about Christmas this week.

1.  Baby boy has been a good boy this year and went to visit Santa.  How awesome is that Santa?  And, of course, how cute is baby boy in his smocked Christmas tree outfit?

2.  Went to an annual cookie exchange at my friend's house.  The cookies are good, but it's more about the conversation and spending time with my friends that I don't get to see often enough.

3.  Christmas shopping is done and everything is wrapped and hanging out under
the tree until next week.

4.  Displaying all my adorable Christmas cards from this year on my Christmas card garland.  Saved it from last year and it's looking good.

5.  I finally have a reason to wear my party shoes!  2nd annual Couples Bunko party tonight.
We do it every Christmas.   Can't wait!  Roll dice, drink wine, have fun.  And tonight
we do it with the husbands.  (And no, bunko isn't just an old ladies game.)

How was your week?

Link up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog #H54F

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook



Time to break out the scissors and show off your mad snowflake making skills!


When school resumes for Sandy Hook, it will be in a new building. Parent-volunteers are working to ensure that the students are welcomed back by a winter wonderland with the entire school decorated with as many unique handmade snowflakes as possible. The Connecticut PTSA is collecting the snowflakes for the school and they are encouraging senders to be as creative as possible, remembering that no two snowflakes are alike. 

Please make and send snowflakes by January 12, 2013 to the Connecticut PTSA at:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

I love this idea.  I'll be getting busy making and sending 26 snowflakes.  As a teacher and a new mother I've been struggling with the sadness of this tragedy like the rest of the world.  These snowflakes can be one little way to feel like I am helping to comfort this community.  This is something where you could involve the whole family.  It's one small act of kindness.

Get a template for some snowflakes here and here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Delish Dinner: White Chicken Enchiladas

                                    

So, these enchiladas are Ah-May-Zing! Seriously. The first time I made these I figured they would turn out pretty good, but much to my pleasure they were better than I expected.  I actually made these again last night and my husband said, "I think I married you for these.  They are sooo good."  I'm not kidding.  He said that.  Now that's the mark of a good meal.

Originally pinned from Joyful Momma's Kitchen.

Ingredients
7-10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2-3 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup light sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. I have used a Rotisserie chicken to make these and I have also cooked the chicken myself.  When I did cook the chicken I boiled it with lots of garlic powder, onions, salt and pepper for extra flavor.  Shred all the chicken.

3.  Mix chicken with cheese and roll up in tortillas.  I like to use a lot of cheese. 



4.  In a small pot over medium high heat, melt butter.  Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth and whisk until smooth.  Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbling.



5.  Stir in sour cream and green chilies until you have a creamy sauce.  Don't let this boil.
The green chilies are what makes this super tasty so don't forget them.  Also, make sure you get the can of DICED chilies.  They are right next to the whole chilies and in the same size can so don't be fooled.



6.  Pour the sauce over the enchiladas.  Top the enchiladas with the remaining cheese.



7.  Bake about 22-25 minutes.  Turn oven to high broil for the last 3 minute in brown the cheese.









Monday, December 17, 2012

Sweet Treats: Christmas Bark



Okay, so I call this Christmas Bark because I always make this at Christmastime, but you could rename it if need be.  About 7 years ago or so one of my friends made this for me and I've been hooked ever since.  This is SUPER easy to make and highly addictive, so beware.  It's great to give away to friends or neighbors during the holidays or bring to a party or get together.  It's always a hit.  I've seen things similar to this on Pinterest, but not this exact recipe, so it will be there now. :)

You only need five ingredients:
1 cup Butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 sleeve of saltines
1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
About 1/2 cup- 1 cup of chopped pecans

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Line a pan (with edges) with parchment paper.  I usually cut my parchment paper to the exact size of the pan.  The pan still gets plenty dirty, but the bark doesn't stick.

3.  Line the pan with saltines.


4.  In a small pot, melt the butter and brown sugar.  Cook about 3-4 minutes over medium high heat until its all blended and melted together.


5.  Pour the butter mixture over the saltines.  Spread carefully if needed.


6.  Cook the saltines for 15 minutes in the oven.  The butter/brown sugar mixture will be a little bubbly when you take it out of the oven.

7.  Pour the chocolate chips over the saltines.  As they melt, spread with a knife.  (Don't worry they will melt from the heat of the bottom layer.


8.  After you spread out all of the melted chocolate sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Push them in lightly.


9.  Put the whole pan into the fridge to cool until hardened.

10.  Break apart into pieces and enjoy!




Sunday, December 16, 2012

New and Nursing Mom Blog Opp


My Four Littles is thrilled to bring you a great blogger opp with products for mommies!!! 

Current sponsors include:
Majamas (RV $37)
Natural Newborn Gift Set (RV $24)
Sophie the Giraffe (sophiethegiraffeteether.org) (3 winners!! RV $25/each)
Teething Bling
Rockin' Green Prize Bundle
Kissed By the Moon ($20 gift card)
Milk Bands
Preggie Pops (3 winners!!)
Peek Away (RV $47)
Happy Family Super Foods Prize Pack (RV $35)
Giggle Poo Prize Pack
With more being added each day!!

There will also be a few Pregnancy and New Mommy Gift Baskets (RV $50-100 each).
If you don't wish to write your own announcement post, HERE is some text for your to use.
Right now we're hoping to run the giveaway from January 14th to February 7th, 2013.
We ask that you promote the giveaway at least three times a week.

- Each blogger can have one free link (either Facebook or Twitter) with announcement post.
- A second link is available for $2 (either Facebook or Twitter).
- You can get a Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest link package for $4.
- For $6 you may host a page (host pages will be first come first serve in the order of sign ups).
- For $12 you may be a cohost with up to four links on the Rafflecopter plus your blog name and link in the giveaway post.
The blogger that refers the most other bloggers will receive free cohost (or refunded cohost if applicable).

Click here to sign up. Thanks for participating!

Friday, December 14, 2012

High 5 for Friday

So, here are my 5 things this week that I'm high fiving:

1.  My adorable baby boy just keeps getting more adorable.


2.  We got a Christmas tree and decorated it.  I love looking at the Christmas tree 
all lit up in a dark room.


3.  Got my gifts in the mail that I ordered from Etsy for our annual My Favorite Things Party with my friends next week (more about that later.)  I can't show you a picture yet just 
incase one of them reads this. :)

4.  Adorable baby boy started sleeping in his crib and has been sleeping 10.5-11 hours every night!

5.  And finally, I've been reinspired (is that a word??) with my blog.  Excited!

I'm linking up with Lauren at My Grey Desk Blog for High 5 for Friday
 thanks to Kate at The Small Things blog which I love!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Embracing the Camera 12/13



Sometimes it's hard to get in the picture.  Especially after after a baby when you don't think you look like yourself and you definitely don't think you look good.  But, I've finally started choosing to embrace the camera and get in some pictures with my new baby.  One day he'll love looking at the pictures of us together or as a family.  He'll tell me how young I look and that I was pretty.  One day, when he's thirty, he might savor a picture of his mom and him as a baby, just like I do of the few pictures I have of me and my mom.  They are sweet.  They remind me that life is precious.  They make me live in the moment, which can be really hard to do.  So, a big thank you to my friend, Ruth, with her blog Viva Veltoro for reminding me to do this.

Baby boy and me embracing the camera(phone).

You can link your own picture here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY: Monogram Ornaments




Who doesn't love Christmas?  It inspires even the most uncreative person to want to be more like Martha Stewart.  Unfortunately, we all don't all have Martha's talents.  If you, my friend, are one of those people then this is the craft for you.  The monogrammed ornaments are classic and easy to make.  They're nice for your tree or for a little gift for the special people in your life.  I made these for my best friend's two daughters.

I bought two boxes of glass ball ornaments, red and teal.  (Teal because we're all big Jaguar fans here- even though they're horrible!)  The paint, ribbon, and paint pen I used to make it I already had on hand.
First, I painted on the white dots using acrylic paint.  I had a round sponge paint  brush on hand and dipped that in the paint and stamped it on the ornament, then filled it in with a brush.  You could always just paint the circles free hand too.


Then I used the paint pen to free hand the letter monogram.  I added some white dot details to the letters using the other end of a paint brush dipped in the paint.  Finally, tie on your favorite ribbon to finish off whatever look you're going for.  That's it.  How's that for easy peasy?



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet Treats: M&M Bark


I love sweets! Seriously, my Desserts board on Pinterest has more pins than any other board- by a lot. That being said, I don't really need to eat all of these sweets, so I usually only find myself baking or making these treats when I have a reason. Other than the fact that I feel like eating. (Although, sometimes that does happen.) I found this great idea from Jo and Sue. It's a great treat when you don't feel like turning on your oven and you are craving salty sweetness. I made these for a get together with some friends and they thought they were great.

Ingredients
1-2 cups of mini M&M's
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
caramels (about 30)
1-2 Tbsp of milk or cream
pretzel sticks 

1.  Line a 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper and spray with PAM or non-stick spray.

2.  Layer pretzel sticks to cover the whole pan.

3..Using a microwave safe bowl, stir caramels with milk or cream, and heat in 15-20 second intervals, until smooth.  This may take awhile, but be sure to stir after every stint in the microwave so you don't overcook the caramels.

4.  Carefully spread the caramel over the pretzels in the pan.

5.  Now, heat the chocolate chips in the microwave or a double boiler on the stove.  Your choice.  Again, make sure the stir the chocolate chips every 15-20 seconds until it's creamy.

6.  Carefully, spread the chocolate over the caramel.

7.  Sprinkle the M&M's and lightly press into the chocolate.  I like a lot of M&M's, but you can use as little or as much as you want.



8.  Chill until solid, about an hour or two.

9.  Pull out of pan by the parchment paper and cut into squares with a sharp knife.  Enjoy!







Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Delish Dinner: Enchilada Casserole


I've been really trying to cook more around here, so I've been looking for easy, yet delicious recipes that both me and my husband will like.  Naturally, I went to Pinterest for inspiration. This enchilada pasta casserole from Table for Two was a winner.  If you're looking for some comfort food, you've come to the right place.

Let's not waste any more time- here's what you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
5 oz. cream cheese ( I used 1/3 less fat)
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
1 cup frozen corn- thawed
12 oz. egg noodles



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Boil pasta according to instructions.

3.  In a large pan, brown ground beef.  Then, add spices to beef and stir.

4.  Add the cream cheese to the ground beef until melted.  Stir to combine.

5.  In a separate bowl, combine enchilada sauce, sour cream, corn, chiles, and 1/2 cup of both cheese and stir to combine ingredients.  

6.  Pour the  mixture over ground beef, mix, and let simmer 2 or 3 minutes.

7.  Add drained pasta to the mixture and mix.  Make sure everything is coated in the sauce.

8.  Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray and spread pasta mixture in dish.

9.  Top casserole with remaining cheese.

10.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Enjoy!



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Idea Mania: Valentine's Day

I've always loved Valentine's Day (mostly because my birthday is the day before).  So, here are some great Valentine's Day treats, crafts, and ideas from some of my other favorite blogs.  You can never start planning too early for any holiday...













Sunday, January 8, 2012

Delish Dinner: Stuffed Peppers

It's a new year and that means everybody's trying to eat healthy and work out and do everything we should have been doing all year long.  So, here's a healthy, but good tasting recipe that you can whip up and still meet all of your New Year's resolutions.






Ingredients
4-5 Bell peppers (depending on how big they are)
1 c. rice (I used brown rice and orzo)
1 large sweet onion
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese



1.  Cook up 1 cup of rice.  I cooked mine in my rice cooker.  
That way, I just measure and let it do its magic until I'm ready for it later.

2.  Next, wash and dry your green peppers.  
Then, generously slice off the top of your bell pepper 
(you'll be chopping up the extra for the stuffing mixture) 
and hollow out the inside discarding all the seeds.  
I also slightly slice the bottom of the peppers to make them easier to stand when they are baking.
Spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with non-stick spray and place green peppers in standing up.


3.  Remove the stems, then chop up the pepper tops along with one large onion. 
I used my mini food processor for this because I wanted pretty small pieces.

4.  Heat a little olive oil and saute the onion and pepper for about 3-4 minutes.

5.  Remove the onions and peppers and brown ground beef in the pan.  
Now you could really use any meat for this stuffing- I just chose lean ground beef.
I also add garlic and onion powder to the beef while it is browning.

6.  After ground beef is browned and drained, add onions and peppers back to the pan 
and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to blend all of the flavors.


7.  Now, mix in the cooked rice and grated parmesan cheese and 
warm in the pan for 1-2 minutes.

8.  Stuff the filling mixture into the peppers, pushing down with a spoon 
so the peppers are tightly stuffed.  Top with some mozzarella cheese.



9.  Cook the stuffed peppers at 375 F for about 30 minutes.
When they have about 5 minutes left, pull them out of the oven and add
a little more shredded mozzarella cheese.  You can never have too much cheese!
Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.



I originally pinned this recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen.









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