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I'm a twenty-nine year old Army wife currently living near a large Army post. I have an unhealthy obsession with Dr. Pepper, the Internet, cloth diapers, and ridiculous TV shows. I'm a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters, AJ and Amelia. We also have a 6 year old beagle named Abby who is as dumb as a box of rocks.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

21 Weeks

Its been a little while since I posted about my pregnancy, so I figured I'd give you all a break from the cooking posts for a bit and let you know how things are going so far.

I'm officially more than halfway through this pregnancy, which is insane to me!  I feel like I just peed on the little stick like 3 weeks ago!  I'm not sure I did such a good job documenting how life went when I was pregnant with AJ, and I know I haven't done a good job at all so far this time around, so I think I'm going to start trying to get better about posting on a (somewhat) weekly basis.

Here's how my pregnancy with baby girl #2 is going so far.


I'm doing pretty well.  I feel like I'm definitely showing (bigger, sooner, faster!) than with AJ, but that is apparently normal with subsequent pregnancies.  I tweaked something in my back sometime last week and was basically an invalid for about 5 days.  We'd run our necessary errands or do some chores around the house and then I'd lay on the heating pad for the afternoon.   Fun times.  So far though, my back has released and feels much, much better, so I'm definitely hoping this lasts!  Otherwise I haven't really had any of the major pregnancy complaints that I experienced with AJ, so I'm counting my lucky stars on that!


I'm starting to realize that in 4 months (eek) we're going to have another baby around here.  For a long time it just didn't really sink in, life seemed exactly the same and it was hard to imagine a baby in our house at this point.  I even had a fleeting thought like, OMG, what did we do!  Haha! We've been talking about the baby a lot more, AJ seems like she's getting a little more into it and now that we know the sex, I think it makes things seem more real.

As far as hormones and emotions go, D will be the first to tell you that I am crazy.  I'm not emotional at all like I was last time, but rather just have an angry attitude about most things.  I have been trying to stifle it, but by the end of the day I'm usually in a rage.  Lucky D, he gets to come home to the best of me!  Haha!  Sorry, hunny.  ;)


Well, the nursery closet has been cleaned out (it was basically a store-all before) and the girl clothes have all been organized according to sizes.  I think we're (and by "we" I obvi mean "D") going to paint next weekend and then get the crib set up sometime after that.  I have a big nursery design all planned out in my head, but I'm probably going to need to share that with D before anything really big happens.  Ha!  We're going to Hometown, USA for Thanksgiving and while we're there I think we're planning to pick up a dresser at Ikea, so that will be the last piece of furniture needed.  I feel like we have tons of time left to do all this stuff, and then I remember that we're going to be out of town for Thanksgiving, after that we'll have like 2 weeks at home before we leave for vacay over Christmas.  Then it will be 2013.  Uh..... not prepared for that!

As far as gear goes, I've ordered a few new diapers and covers and my Ergo came in the mail today (yay!).  I was planning on buying one and randomly got an email from Amazon last week telling me that they were marked down to $99 (from $120ish).  So of course I ordered it.  (Side note: how does Amazon know?!?  They are evil, but I love them.)

What I'm Looking Forward To:

Painting and seeing the room come together.  I've got some stuff from around the house that will be going in as decor and I think I'm going to make a few things and order a few others.  Its definitely not going to be a girly-pink room like AJ's was, but I am excited about how I hope it will turn out!  I'm also looking forward to seeing family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

So there you have it.  I'll probably post again in a week or two with any changes related to pregnancy crazies, the nursery, etc.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Breakdown

So, a few days ago I blogged about how I was going to make 75,000 freezer meals during the month of November and promised I'd come back and update you all on how they taste, how easy they were to prepare, all that.  Well, I can officially say that this weekend I made most of the recipes to which I posted links.

Here's how it went.

Saturday afternoon I threw a bunch of stuff in a huge stock pot to make a big batch of Chili.  This recipe is big enough that I can make a single batch and have enough for about 4 meals (one for the night I make it, and then 3 to freeze).  Since its just me and D who eat Chili (AJ refuses), the recipe itself actually makes 8 large servings.  This weekend I made a veggie version of the recipe, mostly because all the other freezer meals I made had meat in them and I didn't want to buy anymore meat than I already had.  It turned out great.

Yesterday morning I set out to make the 7 (actually 8) crockpot freezer meals from this post on the Six Sister's Stuff blog.  I didn't make the Chicken Cacciatore because it called for jarred pasta sauce and D refuses to eat store bought sauce.  Its the Eye-talian in him, I guess.  ;)  I also made King Ranch Chicken Casserole that I split between two square casseroles instead of using just the big 13x9 inch dish.  Again, since its really just the two of us eating certain meals, we don't need a casserole large enough to feed a small country (and I get two meals for the price of one)!

I started cooking at 8:44 and was completely finished with all 8 recipes at 10:26, so it took me just under 2 hours, which was fabulous for 8 (technically 10) meals!

I started by browning the ground beef and onion for Taco Soup (1) and while that was cooking, I got three chicken breasts seasoned and baking in the oven for the King Ranch Casserole (2 & 3).  These are the only two recipes for which I had to actually cook something, so I figured I'd get it out of the way early.

While the meats were cooking, I cut up my slab of pork ribs for the BBQ Ribs (4 & 5).  I bought a 4 lb rack of ribs and the recipe called for 1-2 lbs, so I was able to get two meals out of the one package of meat (yay!).  I poured the BBQ sauce over the meat and had two meals finished in less than 5 minutes!

I moved on to the chicken dishes next.  I assembled the Chicken Fettucini Alfredo (6), Maple-Dijon Glazed Chicken (7), and Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans (8) next.  These were all basically dump in the bag recipes as well, but I did have to do some chopping for the cilantro-lime chicken.

Beef Stew (9) was more of the same, a bit of chopping (carrots and potatoes) and opening of cans, then dump all in the bag.  The French Dip Sandwiches (10) were the easiest out of all, just put the roast in the bag, pour two cans of Beef Consomme over it and you're done!

After I finished all those recipes, I went back to the ground beef and added it to the bag of canned and frozen ingredients.  Once that was done, I cooked the onions and peppers for the casseroles and then you have to simmer all the other ingredients on the stove before combining everything into the casserole dish.  Again, super easy, just dump everything into the pan and stir it up.  After that you layer it kind of like a lasagna, top with remaining cheese and I covered with parchment paper and then tin foil and popped one in the freezer and one in the fridge for dinner last night.

This really was a super easy cooking "day" and so far things have been yummy.  I will have to see if the crockpot meals are as good as the casserole, I've never made freezer crockpot meals before, just casseroles.  As long as they turn out good, then I'd definitely say that they're worth the time it took to prepare them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November: The Month of the Freezer Meal

In an effort to curb grocery costs and make life easier for myself, I've been researching and saving recipes for meals that I can prepare ahead of time that freeze well.

When I was pregnant with AJ, one of the best things I did was make and freeze about 7 meals that we were able to pull out of the freezer after she was born.  In the first days of new motherhood, it was invaluable to know that dinner was in the freezer if sh!t hit the fan.  I'm planning to do the same preparation a few weeks before baby #2 arrives.

In the past three years, it seems that crock pot cooking and freezer meals have become way more popular and I've found a few websites that have some great-looking recipes I'm going to test-run before the baby arrives.  One main site is the Six Sisters' Website.  They claim that you can prepare and complete 8 dinners in just over an hour.  I am planning to test their theory this month.

I also have a few of my own recipes that I know freeze well that my family likes that I'm planning to make this month.  I think I'll have more than 10 meals in the freezer that we can pull out as life gets crazy and we start to travel for the holidays.  I can't wait to just be able to pull a pan out of the deep-freezer when we get home from a trip and have a home-cooked meal the night we get home!

Here are the meals I'm planning to make this month:

The only two of the above recipes that I've made before are chili and homemade pasta sauce, which, technically I don't make, since D makes it.  The chili recipe I make is loosely based off the one I linked above, but I've changed it so much that its really different from the above recipe.

I'm kind of excited to get all these prepped and frozen, there is nothing better than having a fully-stocked freezer, and not just with frozen pizzas, but actual meals.  I also feel like most recipes for freezer meals are big enough that we can eat off them for at least an extra day with the leftovers.

So, if you'd like to join me in cooking up a storm, feel free, but I'll be posting about how these recipes come together, if we like them and what my overall thoughts on them are.