Thursday, January 31, 2013

Teeth Cleaning

I had my teeth cleaned today. Yes, it feels good to have all that crap taken off and know your teeth are clean. I am SO glad I only have to do this every 6 months. Going to the dentist is not fun.

First of all, since we are military, I pretty much am a new patient every time because we move so often. I have to fill out new patient paperwork that takes forever and get asked the same questions over and over. It's their job, but holy moly, they ask a lot!

Then, all they want to do is talk to you! WHY!? I seriously do not get this at all. You have sharp objects in my mouth and are asking every possible question in the book. Do dentists get question books so they remember all of them? They want to know your life story and more. So strange.

This teeth cleaning experience wasn't too bad. I got compliments on my non decaying teeth, thank you very much, and have no cavities. The hygienist said the weirdest thing's part of our conversation...

Teeth cleaner: "Have any kids"?
Me: "Yes, a 2 1/2 month old little boy". *opens mouth*
Teeth cleaner: "OH, that is so WONDERFUL!"
Me: "Yeah, he's pretty cute". *opens mouth*
Teeth cleaner: "So, where is he?"
Me: *closes mouth* "With my husband..." *opens mouth*
Teeth cleaner: "OH, that is so WONDERFUL! We'll just take our sweet time then! *smiles super smile*
Me: *opens mouth*

Umm...did she really just say, "take our sweet time"? Does she know I'm at the freaking DENTIST!? This is not a vacation or a manicure or a massage or shopping or a beach lady. How can she possibly think I would want to be there longer than I have to?

If any dentists or dental hygienists know why so many questions are asked while our mouths are open, PLEASE explain it to me!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cloth Diaper Tax Credit Petition

I have never signed a petition before. Until now. I recently stumbled upon this petition that would allow for a tax credit for using cloth diapers. This petition really hit home because I feel like I've become an advocate for using cloth diapers. This does not mean I am a pro or know everything there is to know about cloth diapering. It just means I think they save you money, are environmentally better, and super adorable.

I am not one to discuss politics or "hot topics". To each their own. If you want to sign, sign it. If not, stop reading this post. Easy as that. Here is the link to the petition...

If there are any questions about using cloth diapers, feel free to ask. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January is almost over.

I just realized this month is coming to an end. This means month one of resolutions are almost done and a new month is about to start. I looked to see what February was and had a mini panic attack. February is no sugar/candy and giving 30 things away. Giving 30 things away is easy, I have an entire box full of stuff ready to hit the road. It's the candy and sugar part I had a little heart flutter over. I feel like I want to go to Target and buy of bunch of crap and stuff my face right this second. If it wasn't raining I probably would. There are still a couple more days left in January so if I can get out of the house, candy will be purchased.

Besides my sweet tooth kicking in high gear, I am doing well in January's resolutions. It was to do 100 squats a day and inventory the house. As far as the squats go, I did skip 2 days. I made them up though. Bad decision because doing 200 squats instead of 100 is stupid. This is the last weekend of the month and the only rooms we have left to inventory are the bathrooms and the basement.

Doing the inventory was A LOT easier than I thought it was going to be. It makes you realize how much crap you actually have in your house. I noticed it the most in the kitchen when I didn't even know what to call a couple things..."Umm, this green, glass, platter, dish thingy?" "This clear thing that holds things?" It was crazy. I also noticed it when going through my closet. Adding up tank tops, shirts, long sleeve tops, cardigans, and blazers I was at 200. That's not including dresses, skirts, sweatshirts, pajamas, chonies, socks, workout clothes, etc. That was just tops. Oops.

I know the last couple days of January are going to fly by...

Have you stuck your New Year's resolution or has it gone out the window already?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Meal Planning

I don't know if you have figured it out yet, but Jason and I are pretty frugal. And yes...there is a difference between being cheap and being frugal. Anyways, one of the ways we try to save money is by meal planning. It helps us shopping because we go there to get what we need and not buy on impulse. That does not mean we don't splurge every once and awhile. We are sometimes lazy with our meals and sometimes see something on the shelf that catches our eyes without it being on the list. But for the most part we stick to it. We even have a route we use...maybe that's a little weird.

Before we go shopping we go to our favorite sites to figure out what we want to make for the next week or two. I usually go to Pinterest and Jason usually goes to Gojee. We have also been going to Budgetbytes. All three are super awesome websites with amazing recipes. We also try to eat before we go shopping so we aren't hungry and every single thing including toilet paper sounds delicious. So we figure out what we want to make and start a list. We even put how much of something we need so we don't under or over buy, for example, putting 32oz of pasta sauce or 2 onions.

After we shop and are home, the unpacking begins. We take out the meat we need for the next day and put everything else in its place. I re-write our meals on our menu board. Here are a couple examples of previous weeks.

Some days do get hectic or we get lazy and we pop in a frozen pizza instead of what's on the menu. Most of the time we are good about following it.

Do you plans meals ahead of time? If so, how? 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I miss GA.

I didn't think I would actually miss Midway, Georgia. But I do. I miss my friends from there the most. We would have lunch, go shopping, workout, go to Zumba parties, go out downtown. Those were some of the best memories I have had since moving from California. Georgia has been the first place since moving I would call "home".

I had leave our house, friends, work, and school. In the military it is inevitable you will move. I get it. And I need to get over it. But it is hard. I keep comparing IA to GA and GA is better so far.

It's silly random stuff I miss, too. The weather. The school I interned at right down the street. The deer in our backyard. My walk-in closet. A good mall. Military functions. Book club.

I'm not sure why I am missing it so much right now. Maybe it's because I haven't made any good friends yet. Maybe it's because I still don't know if we are moving this year or next. Maybe it's because we are renting and after owning a house this house doesn't feel like home. It's probably a combination.

Adjusting to a new place is usually pretty easy for me. I'm okay here, but I am starting to think of when the next move is going to be. The cold here is not helping. I want warmth.

Thanks for listening to my little whine session. Too bad I don't have any actual wine to go with it. Boo. And to my friends in other states...please don't be offended by this post, I miss you, too!

Monday, January 21, 2013

I 'had" a dream...of donuts.

And I failed. Well, at least failed at the presentation portion.

Wait, I should start out by saying, Happy MLK, Jr. Day! I don't work at the moment so I can't say thanks for giving me an extra day. But I'm sure those who get the day off thank you very much, kind sir.

My dream was to make Valentine's Day mini donuts. I heart mini anything.

I had it all pictured in my head. Cute hearts and flowers with red and pink sprinkles. And they were going to be donuts...delish, right?

They were pretty good and easy...but my dream of them looking cute for a Valentine's day treat: not so much. Good thing I made them a couple weeks in advance. Phew!

I made the donuts out of a can of biscuits and fried them in vegetable oil. Not healthy at all.

Once the biscuits were out on a cookie sheet, I flattened them out to use my cute cookie cutters. They looked cute at the beginning...

I started to fry them in the veggie oil and the biscuits started to expand. The shapes disappeared quickly.

It only takes a couple seconds to fry them up (about 20 flipping with a metal spatula)
*DO NOT use a plastic slotted spoon or spatula. Did that first and melted it. Another fail! :(
Placed on a paper towel and baking cooling rack

The shapes didn't turn out the way I planned, so I though maybe, just MAYBE I could salvage the V-day look with the icing. I wanted to use white chocolate so the sprinkles would look brighter on white. I used this recipe for the icing and white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

UGH!! It did not come out white. Why is WHITE chocolate not white!? It was more of a clear-ish color. I rolled my donut odd-shaped, ball whatevers I had in the icing. Then I added the sprinkles. My hot pink and red sprinkles looked exactly the same color. COME ON! Really!? I can't even get a good color combo.

At this point I didn't even want to taste them. I did anyway because how can a fried biscuit covered in a white chocolate icing taste bad. FINALLY! At least they tasted good. Next time I will definitely go with a standard donut shape and no sprinkles. If I was doing this for V-day, I would do a fun packaging instead.

My dream of heart and flower mini donuts didn't work out, but they did taste good. That's the most important thing, right? It's been less than 24 hours and they are gone. I guess it wasn't all bad.

Hope everyone has a wonderful MLK, Jr. Day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oreo Candy Bark

One thing I love is Oreos. If you don't love them get off my blog right now...we can't be friends. Just kidding (kind of). Anyways, I am going to a meeting/get together and needed to bring a snack. I was deciding whether or not to bring something sweet or actual food. I went with sweet. Oreo bark was the decision.

It's really easy too. All you need is Oreos and white chocolate. And it's a no baking type of treat.

What you need:
1. Oreos-15, plus 1 for good luck.
2. White chocolate- 10oz.
3. Wax or parchment paper.
4. 8X8 dish.
5. Coffee to enjoy while making (optional).

Step 1: Put your oreos in a bowl and get ready to smash!

 Step 2: SMASH THEM!! I used the end of a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Put chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments until melted, stirring in between times. (took 3 times)

Step 4: Line your 8X8 dish with wax paper.

Step 5: Stir in Oreos with chocolate. Leave about 4TBSP to top bark with.
*If you don't top/sprinkle with extra, the bark looks grey and not as appetizing.

Step 6: Pour mixture into lined dish. Smooth with spatula to cover entire bottom of dish.

Step 7: Sprinkle the leftover Oreos. I gently pressed them into the mixture to set them a little more.

Step 8: Cool for 15 minutes.
Step 9: Lift bark out of dish and lay flat.

Step 10: Using your hands, fork, or knife break in tiny pieces. You can determine the size you want to make them, but I was told by my husband to make smaller pieces. They are pretty sweet (husband's reason for small pieces). Smaller pieces are easier to eat (my reason for small pieces).

All done! 10 easy steps and a sweet treat is ready to take wherever you need to go. Take them that day or the day after or you may not have any to bring...just sayin'...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friday...are you here, yet!?

I'm impatiently waiting for you. I honestly feel like I have no right to complain because Nate has been a pretty decent baby. I get to stay home and in my pajamas if I want. I am not being forced to go back to work. I get to take a nap if I need to. But the past two days have been ROUGH.

I thought he was okay from the shots, but apparently not. He has been so cranky and whiny! Part of me feels bad because he feels bad and part of me feels bad for me because I'm annoyed and cranky. Then since I feel annoyed I feel like a horrible mom because it's not his fault. WTF!?

I know babies cry. Most of the time I'm fine with it. I even think it's somewhat cute. But crying for an entire day is something else entirely. It gives you a headache. You can't get stuff done around the house. You can't take a nap.

So tomorrow I am taking a half day. I'm going to get a much needed hair cut. I'm a firm believer you need to take care of yourself to take care of your loved ones. I know once I have that 2 hours to myself I will be a completely new person.

The only thing I am not looking forward to in tomorrow's plans is doing a living will. That is just scary and sad.

So, Friday at 12:30...I am looking forward to our date.

How often to you need a "break"? What is your favorite "me-time" activity?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shot, Shot, Shot, Shot...

...and I don't mean the song by LMFAO. This is strange because I used to LOVE this song just about a year ago. Going to the bars with my girlfriends, this song would be the one we just needed the D.J. to play.

Not anymore. Now the shots are for the lil' guy in my life. Yesterday he got 2 in 1 leg, 1 in the other, and 1 oral liquid. FOUR! Going into the appointment I was really nervous. I wanted to keep my composure. I didn't want to cry. Nate needed the shots and he could handle them....but could I?

At the beginning of the appointment, it's all developmental questions: how is he sleeping, holding his held up, bowel movements? Checked his weight (12lbs, 14 oz) and length (22 inches). Everything is all good to go and then it's shot time! They should give the moms actual shot to calm them down a little. Lemon drop, perhaps?

He took the liquid great! Seemed like he actually wanted more, but that could be because he loves to eat. Then the 3 pokes came. A quick second to realize he was in pain and the crying began. Nate was crying and I got teary eyed, but no tears actually came out. SUCCESS!

I picked him up, nursed him, and he fell asleep right away. So proud of him. It went way better than I expected. If you know me at all, you know I love McDonald's. I rewarded myself by going through the drive-thru to get my usual. Got home and Nate slept a little while longer. No fever...just a little fussy and wanted to be held. I had no problem with that. I think I needed to be held, too.

Poor little leg! 

Next appointment isn't for another couple months. Phew! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chicken Piccata

I used to work at a restaurant in San Diego that served Chicken Piccata. I never tried it. I didn't try it because I didn't know what capers were and I didn't want to ask and look like an idiot. I should've googled them back them, but didn't do that either. Fast forward to last weeks dinner planning and I stumbled upon this recipe. I figured since I am more willing to try more things (food in particular) I would give it a go. I changed a couple things in the recipe, but not much. If you were/are stuck in a food bubble, pop it and try this chicken piccata. It's good...even the mysterious capers!

 Here's everything you need:

1. Chicken breast (I used 3)
2. Flour: about a cup
3. Olive oil: 6 Tablespoons
4. Butter: 5 Tablespoons
5. Chicken stock: 1/2 cup
6. Salt and pepper: to taste
7. Parmesan cheese: 1/4 cup
8. Capers: 1/4 cup, drained
9. Parsley: 1/3 cup (fresh or dry, I used dry)
10: Lemon juice: 3 Tablespoons

I'm the type of person that needs all the ingredients out so I can see them and get to them easily. This cuts down on time.

Step 1: Pound out your chicken breasts as thin as you want. Most recipes say 1/4 inch, but I usually get sick of pounding and they are about 1/2 inch. Either is fine, cooking time is just increased by a couple minutes.

Step 2: Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken.
Step 3: Mix flour and Parmesan cheese in a bowl with some more pepper.
Step 4: Heat skillet with 6 Tablespoons of olive oil and 5 Tablespoons of butter. 
Step 5: While skillet is heating, dredge both sides of chicken in flour mixture. 


Step 6: Add chicken breast to skillet. Since mine were a tad thicker, they took about 10-15 minutes to cook. Flip them every couple minutes.

 They should look like this when cooked.

 Step 7: Transfer chicken to a plate to make the sauce.
Step 8: Add chicken stock (1/2 cup), lemon juice (3 TBLS), and capers (1/4 cup). Wisk together until all mixed.
You are adding it to the oil and butter you used to cook the chicken, so use the same pan. No extra pan to clean, BONUS!

 Step 9: Add a crying baby to make cooking difficult. Hopefully you can skip this step. Thanks, Nate.

Step 10: Put chicken back in pan and simmer for 5 mins. Add a couple pinches of leftover flour mixture if you want sauce a little thicker. I didn't need too.

Step 11: Plate chicken and pour sauce over chicken. 
*I served it with steamed carrots and a side salad.

This dish took me about an hour. Would've been about 45 if Nate wasn't crying. I tried to pound chicken and rock his little chair at the same time. Do not do that. I tried to stir and rock. Do not do that either. Little stinker. 
This is also a cheap meal. The only thing I needed to buy was the capers, which were about 3 bucks. 

*This meal is husband approved.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I heart Jason.

Sometimes, well most of the time, I heart Jason. Sometimes I think I don't tell him enough how much he means to me. So today's post is a tribute to my awesome husband. 

First picture taken together (2005)


Why today? Last night he was EXTRA awesome! He came early because he didn't have to go to a work dinner. Early meaning 5:30. :)  He made dinner and did the dishes. We watched The Challenge. He did his burpees while I put Nathan to sleep (the lil' stubborn guy takes forever!) Then we have our 30 minute nightly chat before we head off to Sleepytown. These 30 minutes are one of my favorite times with him. We do it almost every night. It may be a serious topic, completely random, or just our day if we didn't have time earlier.

Last night it was about me. And me not doing my 100 squats for the night. I was tired, Nathan finally drifted off, and I was all cuddled up and warm. To be honest, I wasn't going to tell him...but he asked. DAMN IT! I couldn't lie. He told me to just get up and do 10. Ugh, I really didn't want to. I told him I was tired. He said just get up and do 10. I got up. I did the 100 (no that's not an extra zero). It only took me a couple minutes and after I was happy I did them. I have Jason to thank for that. Then he said this...

"That was impressive. Jenn from 3 years ago would've said, 'No, I'm not doing them. Go to sleep.' You have really become a better person in the past 3 years and it has been amazing to watch".

Whoa! Compliment of the century! He didn't know last night (but will now) that I actually shed a tear after he fell asleep. Maybe it's the hormones, but I'm more emotional now, too. WTF!? It was the sweetest thing to say and the fact that he has noticed a change for the better just says how attentive and amazing he is. 

Here are a couple things I love about Jason:
1. Funny (dry humor and sarcastic).
2. Logical.
3. Open-minded.
4. Great cook- and willing to cook when he can. Usually Saturday, Sunday, and maybe a crockpot meal during the week.
5. Stuffs diapers with me and/or by himself.
6. Knows how to fix so many things! And if he doesn't, he will figure it out.
7. Works out and eats healthy. I would be 200lbs without him. 
8. Frugal/Financially intelligent. 
9. Hard-working. 
10. Supportive.
11. Loves to learn.
12. Loves being active and outdoors.
13. Takes care of Nathan. He can make that kid burp better than anyone. :)
14. Organized. Excel is his bitch.
15. Loving. 

These are just a few of his best qualities and why I am so lucky to call this man my best friend and husband. Thank you, Jason for all you do.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Post-pregnancy Plan

Time to get back in shape and get my pre-baby body back ( close as possible)! I know having a baby has changed my body and it will probably never look the same again.

**Warning: There are 2 pictures below of my body as of today (7 weeks after giving birth).

I am posting them because I want to be okay with my body and also motivate myself. By putting the pictures on my blog it will give me no option but to work out and be accountable for changing the way I look. If I don't, you will see me look more like a kangaroo carrying Nathan around...

So, what is my plan to lose the weight and get a better body? Here is the plan:
1. Workout (duh!)
      a) Stroller Strides-Quad Cities. I'll be going once a week for now, then when it gets warmer (and back outdoors) I'll go 2-3 times a week.
      b) My brother got me YourShape Fitness Evolves XBox game...much better for this freezing weather and an infant.
      c) Crossfit with the hubster and/or solo. Crossfit has their own website, so I can easily look there or do a workout or two on the weekend with Jason.
      d) A monthly task. This month is an actual monthly resolution of doing 100 squats a day, but I want to do something every month...100 stairs, 100 triceps, 100 situps, etc.
2. Eat healthier. Healthier being the key word. This is harder than the working out for me because I heart bad food. Why does it have to be so damn good!? I need to eat less carbs DEFINITELY and less sweets.
3. Drink more water. I drink about 20oz a day (very rough estimate) and I know I need more. Period. I will actually go get a glass right now, thank you very much. *drinks a glass* Boom! Easy peasy.

Here is what the good ol' belly looks like now...

So here is my promise to myself to get back in shape and get somewhat of a nice body back.

What are some ways you lost the baby weight? If you haven't lost it yet, join know you want to!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

30 Minute Tilapia Dinner

Last night we had tilapia with pesto. It is easy, fast, and healthy for ya! We have this meal a lot because of those reasons, especially with Nathan around I need quick meals. As side dishes we had sliced tomatoes and asparagus.

What you need:
Tilapia: 1 or 2 per person depending on the size of fish you have and/or the hunger level.
Pesto: Homemade if you have the ingredients and time, but we bought ours. You need about a tablespoon for each piece of fish.
Tomatoes: 1 per person
Asparagus: 1-2 cans depending on how many people are eating. 2 people need 1 can.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Line cookie sheet with foil.
3. Place thawed tilapia filets on foil lined cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly flaky.
*Notice I didn't put any salt, pepper, or any other seasoning on the fish. The pesto is strong so you won't need anything else.
5. Heat up asparagus and cut tomatoes.
6. Put tilapia on plate and top with tablespoon of pesto.
7. Plate the veggies and enjoy!

Obviously it would be better if we had fresh asparagus, but it is hard to find fresh veggies in the winter. You could substitute either of my sides for your favorite veggies. Homemade pesto would also be healthier, but we took the easy and cheap route.

Who doesn't like a cheap and easy meal with a health bonus? Now if you could just get your kids to eat it...Good luck!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Peace out 2012...2013 is Here!

2012 is over and most people are looking forward to starting the New Year. Although I am excited for starting a new year with my new addition, 2012 was a big hit! I got pregnant, graduated with my Master's, moved to a new state, and had a baby. Those are just a few highlights.

It is now officially the first day of 2013 and resolutions are to be made...and broken within a few weeks by most. Last year, Jason and I made 12 resolutions (one for each month) then we lost the paper and only ended up doing 3 of the 12. Fail. This year we made an Excel spreadsheet to stay organized. We also uped our resolutions to 24 (2 per month) and a personal yearly resolution. This will definitely be a challenge. Here are our resolutions by month:

1. 100 Burpees or squats a day.
2. Inventory a room a week. This probably needs explanation. We are going to go room to room and make a list of everything we own. We are doing this because we want to know how much 'stuff" we really have so we can figure out what we don't need and/or want. Sort of a declutter if you will. It will also help with insurance.

1. No sugar or candy.
2. Give away 30 items (1 a day).

1. 30 minutes of T.V or Internet a day.
2. Schedule meals for the entire month and stick to the menu.

1. No sitting on the couch (or Jason's desk/office chair). I will also explain this one. You can sit in other places...just not the couch or office chair. This will force us to be more active, stretch, and not just plop down in front of the T.V or computer.
2. Only use 1/2 our monthly budget. This will be tough! We already have a budget and to only spend half will be a huge challenge. We will need to be creative on how to save money and if we succeed we can put them into our regular budget.

1. After dinner walk. We actually completed this one last year and we loved it! We did it in January which was cold (even in GA) so we decided to do this one again...and in a warmer month.
2. Two new projects in the month. Whether it be a sewing project for me or Jason building something. We need to start and finish 2 new hand-made projects.

1. 30/60 minutes outside. 30/60 is separating the weekdays from weekends. We will spend at least 30 minutes outside on the weekdays and 60 minutes on the weekends. It can be walking, going to the park, playing a sport, having a picnic..the possibilities are endless!
2. Perform maintenance daily. This means doing some general cleaning, or maintaining, of stuff we have. It could be an oil change, cleaning the car, organizing the closet, cleaning the coffee machine, mowing the lawn...

1. Backpack/Camp every weekend. This sounded crazy to me when Jason thought of it. Camping or backpacking EVERY weekend...and with a baby!? But if you think about it, it is only 4 weekends. And by backpacking I mean going on a hike for a couple hours. We could do 2 backpacking trips and 2 camping weekends. It's going to be very interesting if we can accomplish this one with Nate.
2. Eat FRESH veggies with each meal. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am not really a fan of veggies. I pretty much force them into my dinner meals because I know they are good for me. And most of the time they are from a can, which is not the best for you either. We choose July because we know we will be able to hit up the farmer's market and get some great veggies!

1. Volunteer twice in the month. We are thinking Habitat for Humanity, but haven't set that in stone.
2. Cook culture weeks. Each week we will pick a culture and find recipes for each day of the week. For example, if we choose Italian, we will find recipes for each meal. We might just find something new that we love. The next week could be German, Thai, Mexican...

1. 15/30 minutes of exercise a day. Broken down by weekdays and weekends. This will force us to be active and do SOMETHING physical.
2. 15/30 minutes of cleaning a day. Some days we just don't want to do the dishes, or start the laundry. But this month, we will clean something. There is always something that seems to be dirty.

1. Save 50% of income. More money saving!
2. Drink a glass of water before eating. I know I don't drink enough probably don't either. This will also help with feeling full and not overeating.

1. Write a blog post daily.
2. Paleo for entire month. We used to be more strict with eating Paleo, but we have definitely fallen off that food wagon. We dedicate this month to being completely paleo.

1. One compliment a day. To a stranger would be preferred, but I think a compliment to each other every once in awhile would be okay, too. And they have to be genuine.
2. Read 30/60 minutes a day. 30 minutes on the weekday, 60 on the weekends.

Phew...that's a lot of resolutions, but since they are broken down monthly they are reasonable.

My yearly resolution is to save 1,000 dollars and to get back to my pre-baby body. Pretty standard.

I hope everyone is making resolutions and stick to them! We chose ones we thought we going to make us healthier, more active, have more money, more creative, and overall better people.

Here's to a new year!