How Long Exactly...

How long am I allowed to keep calling Rowan "The Baby"?  Is there a certain age where it becomes inappropriate?  She's always going to be the youngest of our children because we do not plan on having any more children.  Except, to be honest, we hadn't planned any of our children.

Does it have to do with size instead?  Like when she reaches 4' 3" she becomes something other than "The Baby"?  Because she's growing so fast she might reach this particular factor before I am ready to stop calling her that.

I was cleaning out a closet a couple of weeks ago and pulled out her bouncy/vibrating seat.  She did a big "ooohhh" when she saw it.  We dug out a couple of batteries and she climbed in it and kicked back in her massaging bouncy chair and just sat there.  Clearly, she was not going to give this seat up again.

I watched her sitting there.  Head over the top.  Arms dangled on the side.  Feet flopped off the end.  I remembered placing her in that very seat just days after coming home.  I remembered I had snapped a picture of her.  Long, skinny little arms and legs.


Tacos a la Pasta sans Tortillas

This is a yummy recipe that I stumbled across in an old handwritten cookbook. I am always looking for recipes with few ingredients and quick cook times.  This is one of those recipes.

Most families love tacos for their ease of cooking and eating, but sometimes they can be pretty messy.  This recipe helps keep the mess to a minimum, tastes great, and can be adjusted so easy for any families likes or dislikes!

Add these to your grocery list:

1 (16 oz.) package of medium pasta shells
1 lb. of ground beef (or turkey)
1 (26 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce
1 envelope of taco seasoning
1 (8 oz.) carton spreadable chive and onion cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme)
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese (or more to taste and I think we used the "Mexican" blend, but again you can change it up and use any blend of shredded cheese)

Get started:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook the pasta per package instructions.  Once that is started, cook beef (or turkey) in large skillet until no longer pink; drain.

Stir in the spaghetti sauce and taco seasoning.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream; set aside.

Drain the pasta; stir in beef mixture.  Transfer to a greased 13" x 9" baking dish.  Spread the cream cheese/sour cream mix on top then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Yields 8-10 servings.  Total time:  45 mins.

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Yarn, Yarn, Yarn

I suddenly have a strong urge to buy lots and lots of yarn!  To make lots and lots of little knitted things!

I've made one thing with my Knook.  A scarf.

Though I can now check an item off of my list of goals for the year.  #28 - finish my first "knitting" project with the Knook.  I think that knitting with the Knook would probably be faster than traditional knitting, but I wanted to learn to do it the real way.

Insert Ravelry.  Have you been to this site?!  Oh my geez... patterns and patterns and patterns.  I thought that for starters I should stick with something super basic.  Like a nice square washcloth.

Woo hoo!  I knitted something.  Like, for real y'all.  With needles and stuff.  

Ok, to be honest, this is the second washcloth.  The first one I made I was a bit confused on the pattern.  Instead of a basketweave pattern, it was just chunky lines.  Oops!  It'll still wash my butt though! Ha!

With this, I can now check another item off of my list!  #29 - learn to knit with knitting needles!

You can find the Basketweave Baby Washcloth on Ravelry or her site and it's free.
Needles:  US 8 - 5mm (10 in. long)
Yarn: I Love This Yarn in Gelato Stripe (for both the Knook project and the washcloth)

When Did That Happen

I swear I haven't fallen off the Earth.  The days just seem to be zooming by and before I know it, it's been almost two weeks since I last posted!

I was browsing through my Flickr earlier today.  I was looking to clean it up a bit.  I ran across some photos of the kids.  Photos that don't seem like I took them that long ago, but what the...?!  They have changed so much in just a short amount of time!

Day 10

This was Neil in January of 2011. He looks so little to me!

And what about this one.


Holy moley... August of 2007. He is 8, she is 6.

Remember when this happened?

Rowan storyboard

To me this feels like it just happened, but it's been 18 months.

Dear Universe,
Can you slow down a bit please? Thanks in advance.

Sincerely, A Mom of Three Kids Who Are Growing Up TOO FAST!

An Unsaid Goal

I think the goal that I was most disappointed in myself for dropping the ball on last year was seeing five movies in the theater.  Going to the movies can be really expensive though!  Unbelievably expensive.  Like there is no reason for a ticket to cost that much.  And we all know how ridiculous the price of concessions can be.

Months before The Hobbit hit theaters (as soon as the previews hit TV), my son told me that I was taking him to see it.  He'd already read the book and I didn't see any problem taking him.  It came out and we didn't go.  I just kept putting it off because we really couldn't afford that extra expense.

I had the most funkalicious week last week.  I don't know why the funk set upon me.  I just know I was mopey all week long.  Blah... blah... blah...

Sunday morning I woke up to the Sun shining bright and I felt good.  I made a grocery list, decided to take my son to the movies, realized we didn't really have the money to go, woke him up and went anyway.

It's that old "you only live once" syndrome.  YOLO y'all!  Except that's not true.  You live EVERY DAY.  But are you really living?  Because we're not.  We are just getting by.  Moving from day to day.  And it stinks.

So I took my son to the movies.  We saw The Hobbit.  It was the first time, in I can't remember how long, that I spent the day just relaxing.  Not worried about what time it was or where I had to be.

So I guess the biggest goal for me this year is to live!  Stop being so worried, so frustrated.

And the movie??  It was meh...  I haven't read the book, but my son said the movie did not follow the book and he was a little disappointed.  Special effects were great, but for me, it didn't live up to the previous LOTR movies.

On to the next!

**For the record, I can not stand that whole YOLO crap.  I want to punch people who use it in the face.  Please do not punch me in the face.  kthxbai

This is NOT a Resolution List

Who makes resolutions for the New Year?  Everyone.  Who actually keeps those resolutions?  Like 5% of people.  At least I think it's like 5%, because I've never actually kept one myself.

Last year I made a list of 52 goals.  I only accomplished 11 of them.  I love the idea of having set goals for the year.  I just think I made too many.  This year I've compiled a new list.  Some of these goals are holdovers from last year, some are new.  There is no way I'll do 52 again so this time around I'm aiming for 30.  Thirty is a good number, right?  Here's my list:

1.  (a). Read 25 books.
     (b). Ten of those 25 - Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles
2.  See 5 movies in the theater.
3.  Save $500.
4.  Back up all photos to disc.
5.  Visit a National Park.
6.  Visit a State Park.
7.  Thirty days without soda.
8.  Start a compost.
9.  Create a living will and last will.
10. Build a fenced area for dog.
11. Eat supper at the dinner table at least once a week.
12. Begin selling crafts online.
13. Rent a dumpster/clean out basement.
14. Clean out garage and carport.
15. Paint bedroom.
16. Landscape yard.
17. Get the chimney cleaned.
18. Buy new towels!
19. Refurb the bathroom.
20. Read to Rowan everyday before nap time.
21. Stop biting my nails!!!
22. Plant a garden.
23. Send out Christmas cards.
24. Begin an exercise program.
25. Eat less red meat.
26. Focus on losing inches, not lbs.
27. Photo a Day project!
28. Finish my first knitting project with the Knook.
29. Learn to knit with knitting needles.
30. Watch 15 unseen movies on Netflix.

I'm already a list maker for everything so having a set visual list of things to accomplish really helps me.  Do you have goals set for your year?

Time to Start Eating Healthy!

Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon - Image copyright 2012. All rights reserved. DO NOT COPY.
And I have the perfect way to start!

I was giddy with excitement when Ashley from Applegate contacted me again! Back in July I had the opportunity to try and then review their Super Natural Beef Hot Dogs.  I was not disappointed.  I'll never eat another brand of hot dog.

But this isn't about hot dogs.  Or beef.  This is about BACON people.  Yummy bacon goodness.  

Applegate's Sunday Bacon was all that I expected it to be.  Hickory smoked with just the right ratio of contents.  Let's begin by what you get with the pork Sunday Bacon.

  • Casein Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Antibiotic Free (Applegate's family of farms never use antibiotics with their animals!)
  • No Nitrites or Nitrates added
  • 2 pan fried slices yield about 60 calories
  • Ingredients: Pork, Water, Sea Salt and less than 2% of Evaporated Cane Syrup and Celery Powder.
Take another look at those ingredients.  Five.  Five ingredients, all of which we can pronounce.  All of which we know what they are.  I feel you can tell this in the flavor.  Everyone in the house must have felt the same way because I could barely keep it cooked fast enough!

Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon - Image copyright 2012. All rights reserved. DO NOT COPY.
I like to slice the bacon in half because it allows it to cook more evenly.
Now let's take a look at their Natural Turkey Bacon.  I've tried several brands of turkey bacon in the past.  I'm supposed to be on a low cholesterol diet and that just doesn't include bacon, but like most other people, I cheat.  I've been forced to cheat because all the other turkey bacons are quite frankly gross.  The consistency and flavor just isn't comparable.  This is NOT the case with this turkey bacon. 

Let's take a look at what you get with this product.
  • Casein Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • No Nitrites or Nitrates added
  • Antibiotic Free (Applegate's family of farms never use antibiotics with their animals!)
  • One slice yields about 35 calories
  • Ingredients:  Turkey, Water and contains less than 2% of Sea Salt, Celery Powder, Maple Sugar, Onion Powder, and Spices (cayenne pepper).
Just seven ingredients!  Now I will admit that this isn't pork bacon.  There really is no substitute for that.  HOWEVER, I could definitely see myself eating this turkey bacon on a regular basis.  It has a wonderful flavor and the consistency is more like "regular" bacon.  Everyone agreed that it was better than we expected.  The lone hold out was my 11 year old daughter.  I won't put much behind that though because she's picky, that one is... but still the turkey bacon gets a 4 out of 5 in our house!

Aren't sure if Applegate products are sold in your area? Click here for their store locator. In addition to bacon, Applegate also has hot dogs, sausage, chicken, cold cuts, and cheeses!  I highly encourage you to try out this brand!  You will not be disappointed!

What a great way to start your new year off by eating healthier!  To give you an extra incentive, Applegate is giving three lucky readers free product coupons!  Just enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was given a sample of this product for review. All opinions are my own.

Photo A Day Begins Anew!

Last year I participated in Fat Mum Slim's Photo A Day project.  I started in January, but I'm pretty sure that, if I actually counted my total photos, I probably only participated 6 months. I did try, but sometimes I was too busy, sometimes I just plain forgot.

I was excited when I saw that she is giving prompts again for 2013. Maybe this year I'll be able to keep up!

Make sure to stop by tomorrow for a cool giveaway!