Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Random Thoughts of the Day: Modern Family, Pregnancy, and a Rant About Vowel Replacement

My husband and I have just discovered the show "Modern Family". We're almost always late to the game when it comes to T.V. shows. I can't tell if it's because we just don't pay attention to cable T.V. enough to notice when something great comes along, or if we just enjoy binge watching a series. Name a series favorite of ours and 95% of the time we didn't become fans until the show was already in at least its second season. For example: Lost (best.show.ever.), Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Rome (the show was actually OVER by the time we got into (and fell in love with) it, Big Love, Downton Abbey, Sherlock...the list could go on. I think to date the only T.V. show we watched from the beginning is "Defiance" on SyFy (I hate the way they changed their name, by the way. SciFi worked just fine, and the letter y isn't any trendier than the letter i. They're both vowels. But whatever.) Anywho, back to "Modern Family". We love the show, and thanks to our library we can catch up (at least through season 3) for free.  
On the baby front, I'm 33 weeks along today! I've gotten to the point in my pregnancy where I'm almost always uncomfortable. This being said, I know that I've had a blessed pregnancy so far so I try to keep my complaining to a minimum. I mean, what's a little sciatica, reflux, hell-fire heartburn, joint pain, and bloating after all? My belly is also so big that I can now provide shade for Liam when it's sunny out. The pain/uncomfortableness, as tedious as it may be, pales in comparison to my excitement at the anticipation of little Owen's arrival. It's all worth it, and I'd do it again (but maybe not too soon.....)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Economy Meals: Crock Pot Tortellini

Hello, everyone! Get ready for my first economy meal of 2014: Crock Pot Tortellini. I came across this recipe on the Facebook page of a friend of mine, and decided to try it (thank you W!). It was SO good, and very cheap to make. You could even have fun making variations of this to suit your taste.

Crock Pot Tortellini

Ingredients
  • 1 (20 oz) container of Buitoni tortellini variety of your choice
  • 1 (8 oz) block of low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 4 cups of chicken broth/stock (I use the Knorr Homestyle Stock b/c I find it to be more cost effective)
  • you will need a crock pot (to state the obvious)



Directions

1. Pour your 4 cups of chicken broth/stock into your crock pot, add tomatoes, and cream cheese. (I cube the cream cheese so that it melts easier).
2. Add your container of tortellini to the mixture and stir. 
3. Add your bag of spinach and stir; it may seem like your crock pot is jam packed, but the spinach will wilt.
4. Cook on low for 5 hours (for a firmer pasta decrease cooking time by about an hour).

Your finished product will look like this:

It's oh so yummy!

I really enjoyed this dish. If you are feeling adventurous, you could make some Italian/Mexican fusion tortellini and use 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes and chilies instead of the Italian tomatoes and add in a drained can of corn and/or a drained can of beans. Cheddar or pepper jack cheese would make a good topping in this case. In fact, I think I may try that next time. My husband will eat anything if there is Rotel in it. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Liam and the Library

Hello, everyone. I hope everybody is staying warm during this insanely cold weather. This morning in Little Rock it was 0 degrees! 
This week I got the ball rolling on attaining one of my New Year's resolution goals: taking Liam to the library once a week. We go to the library on base quite often, and it really is a wonderful library. It may be small, but it does a lot to enrich our base community. Library privileges are free for service members and their families, so there really is no reason for anyone to miss out. Our base library also has story time events and a summer reading program for kids, which is wonderful. My husband and I go there to check out books, Cd's, and movies. We especially love getting movies/T.V. series seasons there because a) we're on a tight budget and going out to the movies is an unfortunately rare thing us, and b) we have the streaming only plan from Netflix so our selection is limited, and we don't always want to have to go to the Red Box. (I know it's only $1.20 or so a night, but if you can get the same rental from the library for free, why not?)
So, that being said, this was not Liam's first time in the library. However, this was our first trip solely for Liam, and his first time choosing and checking out a book. He was so excited! The first thing that drew his attention were the computers set up with a reading program and headphones. 

 After looking at that for a bit, we went over to where the reading bench was.
There were puzzles and stuffed animals to play with. Liam's favorite was the giant bear.

Liam chose a book for us to read in the library, and his eye fell upon "Miss Nelson is Missing", which was one I enjoyed as a kid. It was fun getting to read it again and sharing it with him. 

When it was time to go, Liam chose a book to check out. He decided to get "How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad?". He (very proudly) marched up to the circulation desk and handed the book to the library assistant himself. 

I want to foster within my son a love for books and reading. This is something that my husband and I feel really strongly about, being avid readers ourselves. We've been reading to him since infancy, and with our efforts combined with gifts from his Nana and Gran-Gran Liam has a little library of his own in his room. It was so much fun to see Liam enjoying his first "trip to the library", and if I can stay on task and take him every week I think that I can help him learn to love libraries as much as his father and I do. An unforeseen consequence of our trip to the library was a renewal in my desire to become a librarian. I've been focusing so much on mommyhood that I've put my personal goals to the side, something that I'm sure a lot of moms experience. Liam and my family are the most important things on the planet to me, but that doesn't mean that I don't still want certain things for myself. I want to stay home with my children while they are small for as long as possible and then begin to build my career. After grappling with the dreaded "mommy-guilt" and talking it over with my husband, I started looking for a grad school program online for a Masters in Library Sciences (window shopping only at this point). It may take me a while to start grad school, and even longer for me to finish it, but I'm going to make this happen!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The New Year, Poop, and Better-ness

Happy New Year everyone! So far 2014 has started off with a bang, but not the good kind. We've all been sick since Christmas and it looks like Liam (most likely) came down with norovirus on New Year's Eve (instead of confetti everywhere we were dealing with poop). Our first purchases of the new year included diapers, Children's PeptoBismol, and Pedialyte. Hurrah.
This is generally the time of year when new resolutions are made, goals are set, and gym memberships are purchased. I usually make a specific resolution, and it generally regards my weight or physical appearance. This year before I made a resolution I took stock of my life. My family and I are generally healthy (well, except for the recent tummy troubles), we have a roof over our heads, no one is hungry, no one is scared, and no one is hurt. We don't have a lot of money, but we always pay our bills on time and have enough left over for little luxuries like HBO and yearly vacations. I am truly grateful for what I have in life, and who I have to share it with.
That being said, there is always room for improvement. My husband and I are not the kind of people who can say "this is as good as it's going to get, so why try for better?". My new year resolution includes a subset of 8 goals for this year. My resolution is simply to do better and be better. Be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. I want to manage our money better, and our time too. Just over-all general better-ness. The goals that I mentioned earlier are as follows:

  • read 20 books *I re-read books I love often, but only new books will count toward my goal*
  • lose 15 lbs. after the birth of my second son
  • be accepted to a Grad school
  • find at least 2 new ways to save money *not including cloth diapering and couponing* 
  • pay off 1 credit card and keep it at a 0 balance all year *by far the hardest goal*
  • make more things from scratch and cut down even more than I already have on processed foods
  • get Liam into a play group, and take him to the library at least once a week
  • finish playing Lego Harry Potter years 5-7
The last goal may seem really silly, but it's more about taking "me time" than anything else. I used to love to play console and PC games, and I hardly ever do so any more. I want to take a little time for myself to relax and play a game, and this form of "me time" is cheaper than going to a spa or getting a pedicure. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to do those things too. However, they seem a lot less likely to happen and cost money, which I'm trying to save.
I wish everyone out there who decides to make a resolution for 2014 good luck, and I'll keep you updated on how I'm doing on mine.