Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rainy Day Crock Pot Lasagna

When it is a gross and rainy day and you just want to come home to something delicious simmering in the crock pot, this is a GREAT recipe to throw together. I personally love lasagna and this crock pot version is just as yummy and is ready to serve after 4 hours of cooking. Add a Caesar salad and some warm garlic bread, and baby, you got a meal!

Here ya go!

1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped (I use 1 cup of frozen onion, celery, and peppers)
2 tsp of minced garlic (or 2 smashed garlic cloves)
1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano or a package of spaghetti seasoning
12 ounces cottage cheese 
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or 1/2 cup asiago cheese
12 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked
16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions:

Brown ground beef, onion mix and garlic in frypan.
Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano.
Cook long enough to get it warm.
Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker.
Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with cheeses.
Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheeses until all are used up. Top with extra mozzarella or parmesan 
Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.


Options to consider: If you like your lasagna to have a Texas flare, throw in a can of Rotel for some kick!

And..there is no such thing as TOO much cheese. I sometimes throw in shredded monterey jack cheese as well!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One with the Cat

Disclaimer: This is my official Christ Kay update for my own records, posterity, and relief of a guilt trip from Second Child Syndrome.
 
 
Christa Kay, who will be 10 months old this Sunday, is growing faster than Sydney can put on a swim suit.
 
In March, she was trying to crawl.
In April, she WAS crawling.
In May, she was pulling up to stand & cruising.
In June, she was climbing stairs.
In July, she started walking.
 
She can say:
"Dada"
"May May"
"Hey"
"Buja, Buja, Buja"
 
and other strange one syllable utterances I can't really make out yet.
 
She will eat anything. Anything as in leftover Hawaiian pizza, watermelon, and hotdogs.
As long as it is small enough to cram in her mouth, it will be eaten.
 
She has 3 teeth and a swollen spot where #4 is trying to come in.
 
She's a hoot. She's a mess. She thinks Sydney is the most hilarious thing to come down the pipe.
 
 
Her eyes twinkle and everyone says she is "bertiful." She has dimples and that is one feature that not one family member possesses.
 
She wakes up happy and for the most part, goes to bed happy after a few minutes of whining.
 
She loves the cat. Simeon is her buddy. When she sees Simeon, her world lights up, she squeals with joy, and crawls at break-neck speed, knees a scrapin', to see Simeon.
 
She is ONE with the cat.
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Southern Belle Sweet Tea



This summer, I've thrown a few wing dings on the patio. At each wing ding, I make a huge container of my Southern Belle Sweet Tea. Everyone comments on how smooth and refreshing it is and how it is not too sweet, but sweet enough, and not the least bit bitter.

So, for those of you that want my recipe, here goes: It is a combination of sweet tea recipes that I have found and it has been tweaked to my liking. Super simple.

Southern Belle Sweet Tea - Yields 2 quarts (simply double for a gallon)

6 Regular size tea bags (or 2 family size)
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 cups cold water

1. In a large glass measuring cup, place your tea bags and baking soda.
2. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the tea bags.
3. Cover and let it steep for exactly 15 minutes.
4. Take out the tea bags carefully and resist the urge to squeeze them.

Repeat after me, "I WILL NOT SQUEEZE THE TEA BAGS." This is what makes tea bitter.

5. Add sugar. (You may add more or less depending on your sweet tooth.)
6. Stir in sugar until it is completely dissolved.
7. Pour into pitcher. Add COLD water. Stir.
8. Let it cool at room temp, and then put in refrigerator. Serve over ice!

The method of this recipe is more important than the actual ingredients. If you measure everything out exactly, though, you will consistently get a great pitcher of refreshing sweet tea. Sometimes, I throw in the juice of 1 whole lemon, just to give it some pizazz.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Taking it Slow

My goal this summer is to take it slow.

and to stop rushing about the house like I'm heading to a 5-Alarm blaze.

It seems that I do everything FAST, and not fast like "speedily," but FAST like, BREAK-NECK Coyote and Roadrunner FAST.

Why do we rush around like this? Especially us mamas?

It's cause we are trying to get everything done as quickly as possible so we can hurry up and have fun.

Fun. A lost art. Fun? What is that?

Hanging out with my two angels is what I really want to do. That is fun. Going out with my husband and laughing over breads sticks and ice tea. Fun.

Yes, there are stale crunchies and Froot Loops on the kitchen floor. They need to be swept.
Yes, the sheets need to be washed. The clothes NEED to be folded. And man, the dust on the shelves could grow a well-respected garden.

But, I have made a decision. I will take it slow. I will breathe. I will do my chores deliberately and with gusto and look forward to every moment I have in this house with these people that share my last name and my love.

Taking it slow and enjoying the ride...cause this ride is moving fast enough, which means I don't have to.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Unusual Craftiness Success

We all have our gifts.
 
Some folks can dance.
 
Some folks can yodel.
 
Some folks can create a beautiful masterpiece out of a few acrylics and a canvas.
 
Some folks can take a hot glue gun, some pipe cleaners, a few dried pinto beans, and make a fabulous set of earrings.
 
I am not ANY of the above people.
 


I can write a song about Vapo Rub to the tune of "Don't Worry, Be Happy", BUT when it comes to physical creations of lovely, it just doesn't reside in my brain.
 
My creativity is random, serendipitous, & completely by accident. But when I hit it, it really hit it.
 
 
I had some cheapo wooden letters from the Wal Mall.
 
They were covered in a fabric that was used in Syd's nursery.
 
The Sydmeister needed an update.

 
Enter my mom's beautiful collection of antique buttons...

 
Add some hot glue, a few blingy beads, some purple ruffle ribbon, and a little patience....

 
And, voila! You get something beautiful, yet unique, yet interesting.

 
I can't figure out which letter I like best. They are all so cool.
 
I just pray they don't fall off the wall and onto her head at night.
 
That would be unpleasant.
 
HINT: I did not get this idea off Pinterest, BUT, was inspired by another craft idea from Pinterest and took it to the Nesha level. The level of weirdness that I cannot quite explain.
 
Let's just not discuss the bean soup I made...Ewww..

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rants & Randomness

The cool thing about a blog is that you can express your personal opinions and feelings without shame. It's my blog and my thoughts. What's awesome is that I can disagree with others and STILL be friendly with them. We don't have to agree to be buds...therefore, I mean no disrespect to anyone when I share my views on certain subjects. Okay, well here we go!

Infants Drinking Soda:

I just CRINGE when I see a tiny baby/toddler sucking down a Route 44 Sonic drink filled with Dr. Pepper. My word. I mean really...My kid is 4 years old and has NEVER had a sip of any carbonated beverage. I guess I'm just weird, but high fructose corn syrup and caffeine never did anybody any good. My waistline will tell ya that. You have your whole life to pickle your kidneys, why do it during childhood?

Wasp-o-phobia:

I am terrified of wasps. I literally have heart attacks when I see one. Spiders don't bug me. Roaches are gross, but I can handle them. Beetles, honey bees, and dirt daubers are my friends. When we moved to the country, we inherited a HUGE red wasp problem. We've gone through a case of Raid, hired an exterminator last Fall, and just had another team of wasp killers come out today. I've spent buckoo bucks on these terrorists. I just HATE them.

Able-Bodied People on Motorized Carts:

I understand that disabled people need motorized carts. But if you can walk, WALK for pity's sake. I was clobbered by 2 motorized scooters today in the store and the people driving them were young and non-disabled.

Infants with Earrings:

Now, I have a lot of sweet friends with precious baby girls sporting earrings, so I mean absolutely no disrespect when I say piercing my baby's ears is not my cup of tea. To me, getting pierced ears is a right of passage. When I turned 13, my mom took me to Claire's and my ears were pierced. It was a very cool experience and I felt like I was becoming a true young lady. She allowed me to pick out my first set of pink rhinestone stud earrings. It was a endearing memory I shall never forget. I know that the baby doesn't remember the pain of having holes drilled into their lobes, but I think it is unnecessary at such a young age. Again, just my humble opinion and to each his own.

Working Mom Martyrs:

Some moms work outside the home and some moms work inside the home. I have done both. It is SO hard being a mom who works outside the home. It is also draining to be a mom working inside the home. Neither job is easy and everyone does it for their own family's sake and personal financial needs. At times, I hear people making snide remarks like, "must be nice to stay in your PJ's all day," or "poor me, I wish I HAD a sugar daddy like you." If people only KNEW how many things we sacrifice so I can stay home, it would blow their minds. We save over $300-$400 a month by doing "without" things that are in essence, unnecessary. Yep, I know that it takes 2 full-time workers these days to support a family, and if you gotta work, you gotta work. My mom worked when I was a baby because it was absolutely necessary. So, whatever you do, be proud and pleased that the Lord has permitted you to be a mom, working at the house or outside the house.

Screaming Babies At Reverent Gatherings:

What is it about people that allow their tiny children to scream/talk/holler/whine incessantly in church or at someone's wedding or at a funeral? I know babies make the occasional babble or cry, but when the child continues to get louder and louder...good heavens. What makes them think that it's okay to distract others who are trying to hear the Word of God or listen to vows or honor the deceased? Churches have nurseries. If you don't want to take your child to the nursery, why not? Do you not trust the nursery workers? If that's the case, stand in the foyer with the screaming child. I know nurseries are not usually provided at funerals, but a trend these days is to hire someone to watch kids during a wedding.

Mommas, just do SOMETHING besides distract everyone around you who is really trying to focus on what the preacher is saying. PEOPLE'S SOULS ARE AT STAKE. It is just RUDE to sit there and not discreetly take the baby out. We are here to praise God and hear His word, not your adorable, precious kid. We are here to witness two people who have planned a beautiful occasion for MONTHS dedicate their lives to each other. We are here to say goodbye to a dear friend. It just blows my mind.

On that note, over and out. Sometimes you gotta get it off your chest. And, if I touched a nerve, my apologies...I still love ya and I will still buy you a cup of coffee. We can all agree to disagree.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Birth Story...5 Months later

Has it been 5 months that I delivered this angelic bundle of sheer delight?


Yes, it has.

With Sydney, my epidural was given too late and didn't take till after delivery. I felt everything and when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.

I wasn't making the same mistake twice, 'cause my mama didn't raise no dummy. So, for posterity's sake, here is Christa Kay's story...every gory detail.

Syd came 5 weeks early. Christa Kay was fully baked. I carried her nearly 39 weeks and my body was about to go kaput.

In my mind, I was ready to delivery CK in early September, late August, mid-June...somewhere along those lines, but I knew that a hot, summer-time, full 9 month, pregnancy was before me. I was doing well and did not have as many complications as with Syd. My blood pressure was beginning to creep up along with my swelling, so things were getting a little uncomfortable in late August.

We moved into our new home on a warm 115 degree day in late August with my belly swollen out like a tractor inner tube. Nobody let me pick up anything, which, I happily obliged.

After a 24 hour protein test on October 3 that came back "high" on October 4th, my sweet doctor called at 8:30 that morning and said, "It's GO time! Come to the hospital!"

Well, you didn't have to tell me twice. I jumped in the shower, shaved my legs (I think those were my legs cause I couldn't see 'em), blow-dried my hair, threw on a moo moo dress, and hit the road. I was happier than a pig in a mud wallow, and looked like one too. I was evicting this tummy tenant!

On the way to the hospital, Chris and I chatted happily about everything under the sun. About 10 minutes away from the hospital at approximately 11:15 a.m., I looked at him and said, "I'm gonna be sick." At 11:16, I was sick...in the car...and Chris nearly joined me. Well, that was weird.

We checked into the hospital at 11:30. They started my Si-Tech (sp?) at 12:00 for the induction.

My mom arrived around 12:30 wanting to know when the baby was gonna get here. My hubs told her, "Who knows? Could be tomorrow or late tomorrow night."

At 1:30, both my mom and hubs got bored sitting around my room watching me look at the ceiling and went out for lunch. At 1:55, I heard the AUDIBLE sound of my water breaking and thought, "Somebody sure is clumsy out in the hall." Uh, the popping sound was not a nurse dropping something in the hallway, that's for sure.

At 2:00, a nurse checked on me and said, "You need something for pain, 'cause we're watching your monitors and you're having some pretty good contractions." I said, "Uh, not really...I'm cool."

At 2:30, my mom and hubs decided to come back to the hospital after eating and shopping (respectively) and I informed them my water had broken. My nurse then came to check me and said if I was gonna do an epidural, now was the time. I said,"Hook me up, sista," without hesitation.

After the epi, I was ready to sing show tunes and run a marathon. I was still feeling pretty good and was ready for action.

So, for the next hour or so, labor was uneventful (at least for me) and around 5:00, my doc slid in there at the nick of time, caught Christa Kay, and she came out hollering and ready for her mama.

There was nothing to it. I was shocked. So, THIS is the glory of an epidural that actually works. Wowza.

Christa Kay arrived healthy, pink, screaming, and ready to eat. It was just like the movies...they laid her on my chest immediately after delivery, her squinty eyes seeing the bright lights of this world for the first time, my husband by my side, my mom and dear friend Kay watching nearby. Yes, it could not have been more wonderful.

Sydney came out blue and struggling. I did not get to see her until several hours after her birth. Her Apgar scores were horrendous. It was scary.

Christa Kay has been a wonderfully easy baby. She is happy 98.9% of the time, coos, smiles, giggles, and laughs. She eats well, sleeps well, and adapts to new situations.

She and her sister are as different as daylight and dark. But, they are both my sweeties, and I wouldn't trade 'em for the world.

Happy 5 Month Birthday, CK!