Monday, January 31, 2011

The Storms Roll In...

Though I typically refer to 'storms' when talking about life's ups and downs, this time I'm definitely referring to the 'historic and destructive' storms that are starting to rear their ugly head all throughout the country today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.

I'll be honest friends, I hate snow. I really hate snow. I don't think it's pretty. Well, I'll admit that it's beautiful lying in a field untouched, or gracefully covering the trees that hang over a country road. But that's the ONLY time it's pretty.

It's NOT pretty when mixed with slush and salt, and dirt or when it's sweetly covering a thick sheet of black ice or lies in patches as it melts on grass that's been dead for 2 months... nope, not pretty.

I'll admit that it's fun to play in. BUT, it's only fun for a little while and the amount of fun you have definitely depends on the company you keep when playing in it. For instance, playing with my super-fun husband and baby-girl in the snow is SO MUCH FUN!

BUT, peeling dripping wet, freezing cold clothes off your rosy-cheeked, teeth-chattering toddler is not so much fun.

SO... today we're hunkering down. Oh, we'll play in the snow tomorrow before the plows come and disrupt the beauty of untouched snow; when the only thing you can see in the middle of our cul-de-sac is our foot-prints.

But today, we'll read books about Spring and babies (because who doesn't want to read about babies?!) :-)), dress up in princess clothes, wear high-heels with pajama pants on, put princess crowns on bed-head hair, eat some (more) of this... and during nap-time, you'll find Mommy snuggled up on the couch watching

(who doesn't love Diane Lane?!)

...and drinking a steaming, hot cup of

Are you hunkering down for some nasty weather, too? What do you or you and your family do to pass the time? Do you have a 'comfort' you go to during a storm... any kind of storm?

White House Turkey

This is another family favorite! Easy to make & SOOOO yummy! It's named after President Nixon's favorite dish...
White House Turkey

* 1 lb. frozen broccoli
* Turkey or chicken slices or cubes
(I use a Rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey)
* 1/2 cup Mayo
* 1 can cream of mushroom soup
* 1 tsp. curry
* 1 tsp. lemon juice
* 1 box stuffing mix
* 4 Tbsp. butter

~ Layer broccoli on the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with sliced turkey or chicken.
~ Mix mayo, cream of mushroom soup, curry & lemon juice and pour over broccoli and meat.
~ Top with the box of stuffing mix and sprinkle melted butter on top.
~ Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes!

** I've added a new label to my recipes. If it's one that I find freezes well, it'll have the labels "Recipe and also "Freezable"**

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You Know You're A Mom When...

I've read so many 'Mom' lists but I thought it was time I made my own :-) Here it is:

You know you're a Mom when...

~ You order chicken tenders instead of a Caesar salad when out for dinner because that way, your toddler can share with you.

~ You only eat half of your meal because you know that 'someone' is going to want some of yours when he/she is finished eating their food.

~ You've been in the car for 30 minutes by yourself for the first time in who knows how long when you realize that Dora has been playing over and over in the CD player and you NEVER NOTICED!

~ You put the car in reverse to pull out of the driveway and call your husband because the car won't move. Your husband says, "It might help if you turn the car ON." (Nope, this didn't happen to me ... yesterday.)

~ You're in the car and you're really thirsty but you're already running late so you grab the sippy-cup out of the diaper bag and drink right out of the sippy-cup... and hope the person in the car next to you didn't just see you.

~ You wake up in the middle of the night and miss your sweet baby so much that you get out of bed, slip into their room, watch them sleep for a while and have to seriously resist the urge to pick them up so you can snuggle and inhale their precious smell.

~ You and your husband go out to a rare dinner alone and the whole time you feel like something's missing. You check your purse for your phone, wallet, keys, lip-gloss, and finally realize that you're missing your baby... your most perfect accessory.

~ You would rather feed your family Mac N' Cheese and hot dogs (GROSS!!!!) for dinner than give up your 20 minutes on the couch reading books to your baby just so you can make a gourmet meal.

~ You would rather have Strep throat, a UTI, or a broken bone (just a few of the most awful things, in my opinion) than watch your sick baby suffer and not be able to fix them.

~ You open up your Chaptick and lather on more spit than lip-moisturizer.

~ You're comforted by the sound of your baby breathing through the monitor next to your bed.

And finally (for now)...

~You know you're a Mom when... you give up half of your chocolate, even though it's your favorite and a rare indulgence, just to see your child's messy face and be able to kiss it off :-)

Do you have any to add? I'd LOVE to make this list grow :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

Yeah, I know. Sounds disgusting.... just stay with me.

My dear friend and fellow adoptive Mom over at Sophie's Hope posted on her Facebook this morning that she was making something delicious for dinner in her crock pot. Since I'm addmittedly a stalker, I didn't leave a comment but read through the half dozen comments people made and found out that she got her recipe from a blog called CrockPot365... ChaChing! This is my dream-blog come true, people and I just have to share the wealth :-)

One commenter mentioned a Cream Cheese Chicken recipe she got off of this blog and it sounded SO gross that I had to see what was in it... and now it's in MY crock pot! It got RAVING reviews and looks so weird that I had to try it.... and let me tell you, my mouth has been watering ALL afternoon! I can't wait until dinner!!! (So the truth is, I haven't actually HAD this dish yet but if if it tastes anything close to how it smells, it will be FABULOUS!)

Now, I'm not a meal planner but I'm working on it (ok, not really). I'm the mom who runs to the store at 4pm because I only have half of the ingredients for the recipe I JUST decided to make (AMEN?!? Anyone?). Needless-to-say, I didn't find this gem of a recipe until 1pm today but I just happened to have EVERY INGREDIENT! It's a miracle! All that to it is:

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

* 2 cups cream of mushroom soup (i just used 2 cans)
* Frozen chicken breasts (enough to feed the people you are cooking for)
* 2 T. Italian Seasoning
* 1/2 tsp. celery seed
* 1/2 tsp. onion powder
* 1 T. sugar
* 1/4 tsp. pepper
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. minced garlic
* 1 block of cream cheese (to add later)

~ Put all ingredients (except cream cheese) in the crock pot... even the frozen chicken
~ Cook on low for 6 hours (I started late today so I cooked it on high for 4 hours)
~ Shred chicken with a fork
~ Mix in softened cream cheese and cook on high for another 30 minutes.
~ Serve over pasta

That's it!! We're eating in about an hour so I'll let you know if it stinks... regardless, it smells SO good :-)

** Update: This was a HUGE hit with me, Joey, and Hannah! I'll definately make it again but next time I'll plan to use one can of cream of mushroom and maybe half or 3/4 of the cream cheese... and add canned mushrooms. Not sure why, it just sounds good :-)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Really Easy Egg Casserole

I've had some requests for more easy recipes so I'll switch it up a little and share a breakfast dish!

I'll be honest... breakfast casseroles intimidate me. Well, since we're being honest, anything having to do with cooking intimidates me. I'm getting better. I think. You better ask Joey.... wait, on second thought, maybe you shouldn't (he might share the meatloaf picture with you :-/)

Anyway :-) My Mom makes this Egg Casserole for Thanksgiving and Christmas morning and it's a huge hit every year. I had to bring a hot dish to Bible study  brunch a couple weeks ago and immediately called my Mom for this recipe and was shocked when it ended up being so easy! I would have started making this years ago, had I known. There wasn't even one piece left after brunch!

Egg Casserole

4 eggs
1 cup Mayo (I used fat-free)
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk (I used fat-free)
2 cups ham or sausage, chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (I used low-fat)
2/3 cups green onions

* Beat eggs until fluffy
* Add Mayo, flour, and milk beating well after each addition
* Stir in remaining ingredients
* Bake in greased 9X13 pan at 350 until firm
* Let set a few minutes before serving

Enjoy!! As always, let me know if you try it!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Day In The Life...

Just for fun, I thought I would high-light some phrases you're sure to hear if you were to spend a day with us...

"Hannah, let's not use Mommy's brush to brush Bentley's hair today." (For those of you who don't know... Bentley is our dog.)

"Hannah, people drink water out of cups and dogs drink their water out of bowls. Can you please find your cup if you're thirsty?"

"Lindsay, you should try to limit the number of times per day that you burp... it's really not a lady-like thing to teach our daughter." (For those of you who don't know... I have 2 brothers... and a Dad :-))

Me: "Hannah, what would you like for breakfast?"
Hannah: "Hi-He! Please Mommy?" (Hi-He = Ice Cream)

"Hannah, it's nap-time... have you pooped yet?"

What are some phrases you find yourself saying over and over again to your kids... or husband? :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daily Deal

I usually don't do this but this is really a great deal and it's good for today only! On Living Social, you can get a $20 giftcard for only $10.... combine this with a 20% off diaper coupon from a magazine or any other coupon and you can score an awesome deal on diapers or whatever!

Just thought it was worth sharing :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home-made Chicken Noodle Soup... I NEVER thought I'd see the day!!

It's been a while so I thought I would share what I'm making for dinner tonight. Believe me, I never imagined the day would come where I would attempt to make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup... Pretty sure the better half of me didn't either :-) HA! My fabulous neighbor made this for us right after my Tonsillectomy last year (nope... I definately don't recommend that!) and it's hands down, way better than Campbells (which is pretty good, in my opinion).

Chicken Noodle Soup
(It looks intimidating but stick with me... it's super easy!)
* Pull chicken off bones and set aside.

1- Rotisserie Chicken (well, that's what I used anyway 'cause it cut out a million steps)
3-1/5 quarts water
3- chicken bouillon cubes
1- peeled onion
2- tsp. Italian seasoning
1- tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
3-tsp. minced garlic
4- bay leaves

* Add bouillon, onion, seasonings, garlic, bay leaves, and bouillon cubes to water and boil for 20 minutes.
* Remove leaves and onion and throw them away.

2- cups sliced carrots
2- cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops
2- bags of Reames frozen egg noodles
3- Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/3- cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4- half and half or heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste

*Add carrots to boiling broth and cook for 3 minutes.
* Add celery and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes.
*Add egg noodles and cook according to package directions.
* When noodles are done, add shredded rotisserie chicken, parsley, cheese, cream (or half and half) and cook for another 2 minutes.

* EAT! :-) This makes LOTS of soup and it shares well or freezes well, too!
( If you're watching calories, you can leave out the cheese and cream)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Not To Say Part II...

Yes, it's true. This post is just begging for a Part II (at least!). To be completely honest, I am SO SO sad that these hurtful, yet well-intentioned comments resonate so deeply with so many of you. BUT, on the other hand, I must agree with commenter CholeClan (who is proudly and admittedly my Mom and best friend :-)) that I am also SO SO thankful to know so many other women who will risk their pain and sadness to share with others. I know from personal experience that it takes MAJOR guts to trust others' with a part of you that is so raw, and so awful, and painful, and dark. So many of us are or have been in this together... in this world of infertility that was never a part of our dreams when we were little girls.

Honestly, never once did I think, "I am going to grow up, meet my prince charming, have a beautiful wedding surrounded by my family and friends, take my temperature every morning, make breakfast, take a pill, go to work at a job I absolutely love, chart my CM, make love as much as we want but make sure that it also coincides with my 'eggwhite', stay up late talking about our dreams, teach my hubby how to give hormone injections even though never once did he think, "Hey, I have a future as a nurse!", get a PAP 6 times a year, add some surgery in the mix..." and all the while wonder if we're even SUPPOSED to conceive a child.

Regardless, here we are. Can I be honest with you?


Nope, I'm not crazy! If we had gotten pregnant when we started trying 4 years ago, we wouldn't have Hannah! The thought of missing out on this perfect, amazing little girl makes me sick to my stomach. Wanna know something else?


Because there is NO WAY in this world that I want to miss out on the next precious, perfect baby or babies that God has picked for us! NO.WAY.IN.HELL!! (Excuse my language... it's just the truth) I get butterfly's in my stomach and lose my breath when I think of the next sweet miracles that will join our family! So as a follow up to my vent above... never once did I think,

"I am going to grow up, meet my Prince Charming, dream together about starting our family, try to start our family the conventional way, struggle for a while, finally realize God's true plan for our family, complete our home study, wait "patiently", meet an amazing couple who had a 10 day old baby girl, bring her home 13 hours later, realize 13 hours and 1 minute later that she's more perfect and incredible than anything Prince Charming and I could have ever possibly hoped to make together, thank God for the miraculous plan He had for us from day 1 (and thank Him also for the entire messy process of realizing His perfect plan), and be ready in 2 years to do it all over again."

But here we are :-)

I feel that it's necessary to speak to our friends and readers for whom pregnancy was part of their perfect plan. The majority of my friends have given birth to precious baby boys and girls.  To some, pregnancy has come easily, to others' it has come with a lot of heartache and struggle but still, it has come and there are others still who got pregnant once or twice with no problem and are now facing difficulty with a second or third pregnancy. I want to go on the record on behalf of every women who commented on Part I and speak to our friends who may not know what "infertility" feels like:

First of all, thank you for being there for us. Thank you for listening. We know you can't possibly understand the emotions and darkness that we have or are going through but your support means so much to us... SO MUCH!

Second, we are so thankful that you DON'T have to experience what we have. I firmly believe that every family is built in a very unique, perfect way; one that is hand chosen by God based on the way He created us... individually. Your children are precious and perfect. Your plan is perfect. So is ours :-)

Thirdly, and possibly most importantly.... WE REJOICE WITH YOU WHEN YOU'RE PREGNANT! I have so often been the last to hear the exciting news that a close friend is expecting because they are afraid of hurting my feelings or making me sad. This couldn't be further from the truth, friends! Your news is SO exciting to me! What hurts is NOT the news itself, it's that you didn't allow me to celebrate with you.

I'll follow this with a bit of ugly honesty; When a friend tells me that she's expecting, nine times out of ten, I will go home and be sad. I'll cry. I'll feel a little bit of jealousy that pregnancy was chosen for you. (The feelings are similar to those you experience when a friend announces her engagement and you're thrilled for her and pissed off for you :-)) BUT... this has nothing to do with you or your amazing news. It has to do with me, with my insecurities, and it has to do with me not understanding the plan for OUR family... yet. The plan will unfold. It WILL come. And we know without a doubt that you will be there to celebrate with us... so please let us celebrate with you!

Maybe you're not experiencing infertility, but do you know someone who is? Do you have a question that I (or other readers) can answer that will help you know how to support your friend?

I already know that so many of you are experiencing infertility; is there something else I can add to the list of things we want our friends to know?

Please share... let's continue to build a community where we can discuss, ask, and even vent. I'm loving it so far :-)

Reminder: Please use respectful language when referring to anyone; other women struggling with infertility, birthmoms, pregnant women in general, and yes, even family :-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Be Still- Kari Jobe

For anyone who is waiting... for anything. I know. I've been there. I AM there. Our family is also proof that waiting is worth every second of pain, darkness, and frustration. More is coming but for now, a song that has touched me deeply...

"Be still and wait patiently before the Lord..." ~Psalm 37:7

Friends~ Be still... just be still. You will be amazed!

On a side note: Doesn't Kari Jobe look an awful lot like Mandy Moore?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What NOT To Say: A Tutorial

I've been on the ugly side of some pretty hurtful, yet always well-intentioned comments throughout our 4+ years of struggling with infertility and in both our first and newest journeys in adoption. I have the most amazing friends and family and hands-down, they ALWAYS have the best intentions! The ugly truth is that sometimes the best intentions come across as hurtful simply because if you haven't been in someones shoes, you just don't know.

My mom and dad struggled with infertility for years before they had me and brought my brothers home so my mom and I have had many many many tearful conversations (or venting sessions, depending on how you want to look at it) after many 'best-intention' comments from friends. For your reading pleasure, we've compiled a list :-)...

The Top 15 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Struggling With Infertility:
In no particular order...

1. "You're young... you have lots of time to have a baby."
2. "Maybe God doesn't want you to have kids yet."
3. "It doesn't sound like you're giving it all to God."
4. "You just need to relax and then you'll get pregnant."
5. "Is your husband shooting blanks?"
6. "You're being selfish to want more than one child."
7. "Just be thankful for what you do have and focus on that."
8. "There's always next month."
9. "Are you sure you're having the right kind of sex?" (No, this was not a joke!)
10."It's time to move on and realize that you're just not supposed to be a mom."
11. "Are you making sure you elevate your hips for 20 minutes after sex?" (Thanks Ashley!)
12. "You just watch; As soon as you bring home your sweet baby (through adoption) you'll get pregnant!!"  (Thanks annonymous... this is a perfect one!)
13."You're not getting any younger... when are you guys going to start your family?" (This comment mostly comes before anyone knows of your struggle to get pregnant... and it still hurts. Thanks Annonymous!)
14."At least you're married..." (Thanks Jill!)
15."Don't you ever want your 'own' baby?" (Thanks Lindsay... I can't believe I left this one out!)

Between me and my mom, we've been on the receiving end of each one of these comments/ questions and so many more. We've NEVER doubted that these comments were said in hopes that we would feel validated, encouraged, or loved... but we were hurt.

So, the question remains for those of you who may know someone going through the pain and frustration of infertility; "What SHOULD I say to comfort and support them?"

It's simple...

"I'm so sorry you're going through this. I don't understand but I'm here to talk whenever you're ready and in the mean time, I'll be praying you through it all. I can't wait to celebrate with you when your baby comes home!"

I know that so many of you, my sweet blog friends, are now or have in the past struggled with infertility. Do you have a comment to add to the list? What can or has someone said to you that made you feel loved and cared for in this dark time of your life?

Please share... we can't get angry at a 'well-intentioned' comment if we're not willing to let people know what they CAN say or do to help us through this tough time.

** I'm officially enabling the Cone of Safety! This means that you can vent and be honest without fear of being judged... and for the first time ever, you can even comment as 'annonymous' :-)**

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Day in the Life...

Here are some examples of very typical conversations between me and Joey... if you know  us at all, you know these to be true (or you got the text or saw it on Facebook...);

Conversation #1:

Joey: "Lindsay, who discovered America?"
Me: "Abraham Lincoln. WAIT! NO! Bill... umm... George Washington? Ok, I know this... Amy Grant sang 'In the year of 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue.' So, Christopher Columbus?"
Joey: "I'm texting everyone I know... I can't believe you just said that!"

Conversation #2:

Lindsay: "Is China in Asia? I mean, If we go to "The Asian Pearl" for dinner, can we order Chinese food there?"
Joey: "Lindsay, China is IN Asia... the Continent."
Lindsay: "So, we can get Chinese food there?"
Joey: "I'm texting your Dad. Where in the world did you go to elementary school?! This is going on Facebook."

So... now that I've completely embarrassed myself (not really. Hey, with a dad and 2 brothers like mine, you gotta have thick skin!). Here's the conversation we had yesterday... hopefully, you'll think it's funny because I DIED laughing (and yes, I have Joey's permission to post this :-))!

Joey: "You should make that seafood stuff your mom made for dinner while we were there for Christmas.":
Me: "That was good! I'll get the recipe. Did she serve it over rice or noodles?"
Joey: "Neither... she served it with pasta."

How perfect can 2 people be for each other? I love him so much :-)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How to eat a cupcake...

Study it carefully...

Take a dainty bite...
Savor the taste...

Show it off!!