Friday, July 26, 2013

Baby Prez: 7 Weeks

Dear Baby Prez,

You continue to grow cuter every single day, but of course, I'm biased. This week you continued to be a multi-sneezer just like your daddy and his dad.  I guess it really is an inherited trait.  You've also continued to get the hiccups frequently.  Honestly, it is often enough for me to be amazed by it!

Weight:    ~10 pounds.  Just a guess!

Health:  You are still a healthy baby!    

Sleep:  You really are such a good sleeper.  Mommy and Daddy are blessed to have a baby that usually sleeps 4 hours at a time at night.

Social:  You met more of Mommy and Daddy's friends at church this week.  Everyone commented on how alert you were.  And how adorable you are!

Diet:  Breastmilk only.  You are up to drinking 4 oz at each feeding.  It's amazing that just a couple weeks ago you were only drinking half that amount.

Likes:   You liked playing on your playmat this week, and you even grab onto some of the toys (not that you knew what you were doing) and made it make noise.  

Dislikes:  Diaper changes, still.  Otherwise you are happy nearly all the time!

Milestones:  You found us!  Amazingly, the day you turned 7 weeks old, we noticed that you can see us and focus on us.  You are looking for us when we talk, too.  Even though it sounds like a small milestone, we were totally amazed. 

Smiles!  You are also smiling voluntarily now and in response to Mommy and Daddy.  You are so cute when you smile!

"Walking" in your walker.  Your engineer father set you up in your walker with your cow travel pillow as a support and you moved yourself backwards all the way across the room!  You are such an overachiever!

Worst Moments:  Poop explosions.  Enough said.  

Best Moments:   Your smiles and eye contact!



Missed a week?  Watch my Little Prez grow!

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photo credit

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Modern Cowgirl Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn't love mac'n cheese?

There are so many delicious recipes out there for macaroni and cheese.  Seriously, I think I could make an entire Pinterest board dedicated to macaroni and cheese.  I could, but I won't.

This evening I was pondering what to make for dinner.  I have a menu, but as usual, I didn't realize that I was out of a key ingredient for tonight's dinner.  Thus, the pondering.

Modern Cowgirl Macaroni and CheeseAfter a quick check of the pantry and fridge, I pulled out some pasta and a variety of cheeses, intending to make a four cheese macaroni and cheese, but I knew that the recipe was missing something.

But, what?

The answer was Cowgirl Ride 'Em Rub.

I purchased it awhile back even though I don't ever make ribs or any other barbecue for that matter.  I'm a sucker for cowgirl or cowboy things.  (Go Pokes!)  So I'm always looking for ways to add it to recipes.  Tonight's macaroni and cheese recipe. . . success.  I was able to incorporate the Cowgirl spices with a modern twist on macaroni and cheese with the prevalence of the feta cheese.

Modern Cowgirl Macaroni and Cheese

Pasta of your choice 
1 T butter
1/4 C sharp cheddar
1/2 C feta
1/4 C milk

Prepare pasta according to instruction.  After draining, return to hot pot and add Velveeta, butter, cheddar, feta, and milk.  Stir until melted and then add spices to taste.  

Modern Twist on Classic Macaroni and Cheese

I was so pleased with this easy, modern twist on the classic macaroni and cheese!  This will definitely go in the recipe box for the future.

**This post contains affiliate links.**

Monday, July 22, 2013

{Project Reveal} Displaying Travel Souvenirs

Ever wonder what to do with those brochures, maps, and other travel souvenirs?

I always come home with all kinds of paper souvenirs from my vacations like brochures, maps, receipts, ticket stubs, etc.  When I was younger and did a lot of scrapbooking, my scrapbook was an obvious place to keep them, but as I've stopped scrapbooking as much, I have simply ended up with much paper clutter from my travels.

Last summer, I surprised my boyfriend (now husband) with a trip to Seattle.  When we returned, I again had all kinds of paper souvenirs that ended up in a pile of paper clutter.  And paper clutter is one of my personal pet peeves and nemeses.  One of my constant goals is to figure out how to reduce my paper clutter.

I decided to combine some photos from the trip with one of the maps of downtown Seattle that we used during the trip and recycle the remainder of the brochures and such.

Walgreens is my favorite photo site because there I can create my photo order and pick it up an hour later.  And there is always a store location nearby!  For this project, I created created photo collages.  I thought about scanning some of the brochure sections to include, but decided to stick with photos for this project.

Instead of only photos, I used a 4x6 inch section of the map in a frame that I already owned and re-purposed for this project.

2 4x6 photo collages
1 map of downtown Seattle
1 3 photo frame


1. Choose a collage style photo frame.
2. Decide which souvenirs you want to display and cut them down to the size of the frame openings.
3. Choose, print, and insert travel photos for the rest of the frame openings.

Project Reveal

DIY travel souvenir display project

I love the way this project turned out.  I was able to display my travel souvenirs and some photos of our travels for only the cost of the of the photos which was less than $1!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pinterest in Practice: Freezer Tater Tot Casserole

While I was pregnant, I put together some freezer meals to get through the first month or so of having an infant.  We were blessed to have help for a couple of weeks, so the freezer meals have lasted longer than I expected.

Most recently, we ate the Tater Tot Casserole that I found at Just A Little Nutty.  Here's the original pin from Pinterest.

I adapted the recipe for more vegetables in an effort to add veggies to our diet, so here's the recipe:

Tater Tot Casserole

1/2 lb ground beef, browned
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 T milk
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
4 oz Velveeta
8 oz fresh or frozen vegetables
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 package frozen tater tots

Place all ingredients in freezer bag and freeze.  
To use, place frozen meal in slow cooker on Low for 6-8 hours.

  • Taste: The casserole tasted as expected.  It was full of cheesy, potato-ey goodness.
  • Prep: The preparation for this meal was incredibly easy and fast.

  • Appearance: As you can see in the photo below, the casserole ended up looking like a gooey mess, which is fine if you are expected it, but I wouldn't serve this to company.
  • Healthiness: I added extra vegetables to this recipe, but it is still rather unhealthy with the cheese and tater tots.
  • Texture: Though the casserole tastes delicious, the tater tots lost all form in the crock pot and did not have the crispiness normally associated with tater tots. 

Because I didn't have 6 hours to cook the casserole, I put it in on high for a couple of hours and then switched it to low for another couple of hours.  Though I often use this little shortcut, this time it backfired.  The casserole was looking great after the first couple of hours on high, but after another couple of hours on low, it burnt!  I can only imagine that it would have been worse had I cooked it on low for a whole 8 hours!  The other major complaint that I have is the loss of tater tot form, not only were the tater tots not crisy, they simply fell apart when I stirred the casserole together.  Finally, even though I added almost twice as many vegetables as the recipe called for (about 16 oz), the casserole definitely could have used more.  The flavor was great if you are looking for yummy comfort food.  

Taste/Flavor:  A
Ease of Preparation:  A+
Prep Time:  A+
Presentation:  D

Overall Grade for this Pinterest in Practice Project: B-

Tater Tot Casserole

Alternative Recipes:

To improve this dish, I would recommend:

  • Double the vegetables
  • Omit the tater tots from freezing.  Prepare them according to package instructions and add to casserole immediately before serving.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Baby Prez: 6 Weeks!

Dear Baby Prez, 

You are 6 weeks old, and you'll be reaching some major milestones this week!  You will start smiling soon and making eye contact!

Harvey Ever After

Weight:    9 pounds, 9 oz

Health:  You are still a healthy baby!    You got a clean bill of health today from the pediatrician today.  Even though you are in the 4th percentile for height at 21 inches and the 16th percentile for weight, you are gaining weight just like you should.  Your head circumference is in the 50th percentile.  The nurse also gave you your 2 month immunizations today - one oral liquid and three shots!  You were such a champ and only cried for a few seconds!

Harvey Ever After

Sleep:  You've been a little bit more fussy this week overall, but you're still sleeping pretty well.  Your favorite place to sleep is cuddled up with Daddy, but you also like the bassinet in the pack n play and the bassinet in the nursery.  Daddy likes to fall asleep with you on the couch, and then Mommy takes you up to the nursery when it's nighttime snacktime.  Sometimes in the morning, you eat and then take a nap with Mommy

Social:  Mimi and your cousin came to visit this week.  Your cousin fed you a bottle and your daddy helped her with her math workbook as she gets ready for 5th grade.  You were a popular little man at church.  Several strangers commented about how adorable you are.  We also visited Mommy's office for the first time and everyone oohed and ahhed over you there, too!  

Harvey Ever After

Diet:  Breastmilk only.  And you are still a very hungry little guy.  I think you would eat constantly if we would let you!  When you get hungry, you make little noises that sound like you are constantly saying "yeah, yeah, yeah".  It's pretty cute when we ask if you are hungry and you respond with little yeahs.  

Likes:   Lullabies and lights.  This week we discovered that you are intrigued by lullabies.  You, like all babies, like lights, but Daddy got you a fiber optic tree that reminds mommy of the toys from the circus from when she was little.  

Dislikes:  Being kept waiting.  When you decide you want something, usually food, you are not a patient kid.  You let us know immediately with a wail and do not stop until you get the milk!

Harvey Ever After

Milestones:  Cloth diaper!  This week we experimented with cloth diapering for the first time, and you seemed fine with the change.  Making noise.  You are getting noisier each week from your "yeahs" to other little coos and babbling noises.  First shots.  Three of your four immunizations were shots, and you were such a champ!  Mommy was so proud of you!

Harvey Ever After

Worst Moments:  Poop blowouts.  Gross!  You've been saving up your poop and having fewer bowel movements, which means more poop each time, and that extra poop did not stay in the diaper!  Time for bigger diapers!   You graduated to the next size!

Best Moments:   Cuddling with you and Daddy!  

Harvey Ever After



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photo credit

Monday, July 15, 2013


Special.  A word that every parent would use to describe his or her child.  

When I think about Baby Prez, he is special to me by all definitions of the word.  

1: He is distinguished by the unusual quality that he is my only son.  

2: I hold him in particular esteem because I love him beyond words.
3: He is readily distinguishable from all other babies because he is mine and came from my womb.
4: Of course he is not the usual because he is unusually strong and came into the world in a rather unusual fashion.
5: And I believe that God designed him for a particular purpose, though I do not know what it is yet.

The love that a mother has for her child automatically makes that child special beyond measure.  Yet, how does a mother balance the feeling that her child is already special with encouraging her child to a standout achiever?  With the self-esteem movement and the removal of competition at the school-level, how should we, as parents, teach our children about achievement as well as failure?

Obviously with only a 6 week old, I do not yet have to face these challenges, but as I look around the world we live in, the questions seem thrown at me time and time again.  I cannot know for certain how I will teach my own children, but I believe that considering these questions is important.

photo credit

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Baby Prez: 5 Weeks

Dear Baby Prez,

You've now passed the one month mark and are continuing to grow!

Weight:   You are definitely still putting on weight, but you're not quite nine pounds yet.  I'm amazed when I look at you and hold you, knowing that you are still smaller than Mommy's sister when she was born.

Health:  The baby acne is persistent, but your hormones should adjust soon.    

Sleep:  You are still a good sleeper, but you've become more inconsistent in the last week.   Sometimes you'll sleep 4 hours at night between feedings and sometimes it's more like 2 hours.   

Social:  You were a social butterfly on the 4th of July meeting lots of new people at the neighbors' barbecue!  The whole time you were happy and alert - not one bit of fussiness! 

Diet:  Breastmilk only.  Sometimes nursing, sometimes a bottle.  Either way, you are HUNGRY!  Like a ravenous little monster! 

Likes:  Jumping.  You just might walk early because you love to "jump".  Mirrors.  Adding a little mirror to your bassinet has fascinated you.  You love to look at your self in the mirror.  Sometimes even when you are fussy, the mirror is so interesting that you aren't even sure if you want to cry anymore.  

Dislikes:  Bath time.  This is still a struggle for you, but your daddy is a bath pro already!

Firsts:  Grocery store outing with mommy.  We went shopping at the grocery store twice this week.  Mommy learned that all grocery carts are not the same!  At one grocery store, your carrier took up the whole cart.  It's a good thing that we didn't have very many groceries to buy!

Worst Moments:  No worst moments this week!  Just your fussiness!  :)

Best Moments:  Taking you out and about for Independence Day.  It's fun to see you in new environments and show you off!



Missed a week?  Watch my Little Prez grow!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Pinterest in Practice: S'mores Popcorn

For Independence Day, the hubby and I were invited to two barbeques, so I made a couple of Pinterest inspired desserts to take - Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, which I reviewed previously, and S'mores Popcorn.

I found the recipe for S'mores Popcorn on Pinterest from the Nest of Posies blog.  The recipe sounded delicious and was too good to pass up with only four ingredients!  I already loved to add chocolate chips and marshmallows to my popcorn, so adding Golden Grahams to the mix sounded like a perfect addition to make something resembling s'mores.

And who doesn't love s'mores?  


  • Super easy: This recipe is uncomplicated and requires almost no cooking skills.
  • Attractive: The end product looks yummy.
  • Taste: Overall, the taste of the s'mores popcorn is, in fact, yummy!
  • False advertising: Even though this tastes great, it does not taste like s'mores, at all. It tastes like popcorn, marshmallows, and cereal with some chocolate.
  • Unclear instructions: The recipe seems simple with only 4 ingredients, and it is. BUT, you'll notice that there are no quantities of ingredients listed.  So I just had to guess on how much to add because the recipe is not clear on what size the box of cereal should be, what size the bag of chocolate chips should be, etc.  
  • Kernels: Simply mixing the ingredients is not enough, which I guess goes back to the clarity of the instructions, but I found that it is extremely important for the success of the recipe to remove each and every unpopped kernel of popcorn prior to adding any other ingredients.

When I was preparing this recipe, I found that the lack of clear instructions was quite frustrating, especially since I was trying to tweak the recipe just slightly.  Instead of just using normal semi-sweet chocolate chips, I also used white chocolate chips to which I added food coloring, resulting in some red and blue drizzle for Independence Day!  It worked great to add the food coloring, but I was unsure how much total chocolate drizzle was needed.  Also, drizzling the chocolate was harder than it looked.  I didn't know how long to microwave the chips to get them to the correct consistency to pour.  It turns out that I never found the magic number and ended up adding a small amount of vegetable oil to the melted chocolate to make its smoother.  Even then, it was difficult to get it smooth and melty enough to drizzle like in the photo.  Adding the oil also introduced another problem - the chocolate did not set up and harden as expected.  Instead it stayed in a liquid-like form, which made the final product very, very messy.  Finally, the popcorn kernels presented a problem.  Since I did not think about picking each one out before spreading the dry ingredients on the sheet pans, the melted chocolate stuck to the kernels along with the other ingredients.  Then, when the dessert was served and eaten, the kernels were also served and (not) eaten.  In other words, I had to spit out kernels with each bite.  

Overall Grade for this Pinterest in Practice Project: B-

Pinterest in Practice

While the flavor of this dessert was yummy, it did not taste like s'mores as expected and the unclear instructions resulted in a product that I wish I would not have served to friends.  

If you try this recipe, heed my cautions and learn from my mistakes!

Alternative Recipes

Alternatively, I think the ingredients of the recipe could be combined in other ways to create better dessert options.  

S'mores Bars 

Melt the marshmallows and mix with the Golden Grahams (with or without the popcorn) to make Rice Krispie-like treats.  Then melt the chocolate chips and spread on top for a chocolate icing.  Don't forget to remove the kernels if using popcorn!

S'mores Chex Mix 

Follow the original instructions, but Nix the popcorn and add Chex to the recipe instead. 

S'mores Popcorn  

Instead of melting the chocolate chips, simply mix them in with the marshmallows, popcorn, and Golden Grahams.  

photo credit

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Baby Prez is One Month Old!

Dear Baby Prez,

Happy Independence Day and One Month Birthday!  I can't believe you are already one month old.  Even though some moments have seemed long (like the sleepless nights), the time has just flown by!

Today is your one-month birthday and Independence Day!  Gramma got you a special outfit to celebrate.  We are also going to visit the neighbors for food and fireworks this evening, so you'll get to meet lots of new people.

Weight:   8 pounds 8 ounces

Health:  You still have a bit of baby acne going on, but hopefully your hormones will calm down soon and it will go away.  But, don't worry.  It's normal.  

Sleep:  You are such a good sleeper.  If Mommy doesn't wake you to eat, you'll sleep over 4 hours at a time during the night!  It won't be too long at all until you sleep through the night!

Social:  You got to spend lots of time with Gramma this week because she came to visit and help while Mommy worked on an important paper revision that was due to a journal.  She loved hanging out with you and sent tons of pictures to Grandpa and Aunt K.  You also got a visit from some of Mommy's friends from school.  You are a popular kid.  

Diet:  Almost exclusively breastmilk, though you get formula every once in awhile.  

Likes:  Now that you can roll a bit, you have discovered sleeping on your side, and you love it.  You turn to your side all by yourself!  

Dislikes:  Not much - you have been a pretty happy baby this week.

Firsts:  Rolling Over. You can roll from your stomach to your back.  Dancing.  Yes, that's right you did some thrusting dance moves all by yourself.  You're going to be an awesome dancer just like your Daddy (or so he tells me).  

Worst Moments:  Having Gramma leave.  She was so helpful and really made the week so much easier on Mommy and Daddy.

Best Moments:  Having Gramma here.  Also, figuring out that you'll happily keep me company while I work (until you are hungry again).  The bouncer sits perfectly right next to me in the office, and you get to look at the lights and listen to my music.  



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