He’s Here! He’s Here!

Sorry for my absence, but I’ve been buried in tiny diapers, toddler tantrums, and baby snuggles for the last week. Our little guy arrived last Tuesday morning at 9:31am and life has been whizzing by ever since!

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This is Bowen James and he is 7lbs 1oz, and 20 1/2 inches long. I don’t want to say he is the perfect baby, because I know it will bite me in the butt later, but he kind of is. He’s the sleepiest, hungriest, cuddliest little babe and he is the perfect addition to our little family.

 

His big sister, who is two, is having a serious case of ‘terrible twos’ as well as having to adjust to a new baby in the house. So some days are great and she gives him hundreds of kisses and brings me his diapers and blankets. Other days, she screams and kicks when mom has to feed the baby and can’t come play with her right away. Those days I feel like I spend a lot of time explaining to her that it won’t always be like this, one day he will be big enough to play with us. Of course, she gives zero f’s about all this right now and just wants mom’s full attention.

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Luckily my parents came in town to watch Hollis while Brian and I were in the hospital. It was so awesome having them here and relieved a LOT of my stress. Hollis was able to stay in her own house and continue a somewhat normal routine. She had their full attention and was spoiled to pieces. And I was able to return home from the hospital to a spotless house, laundry done, and yummy food to eat!

I knew splitting my time between two kiddos would be hard, but I wasn’t expecting to feel like such a terrible mom some days. (That’s what wine is for though right?) I know it will get better eventually and I will probably forget how hard these first weeks are. On a higher note, this is my second c-section and the recovery time was so much quicker this time around. Probably because I have a two year old to chase after and she doesn’t care how much pain I’m in, she needs her bananas RIGHT NOW.

 

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Favorite Make-Ahead Meals

For once, our freezer is stocked. I still feel like it’s not enough, but I have no room for anymore stuff, so I guess it will have to do! I’ve been making a few extra meals each week for the last few weeks to stock up on meals for when the baby comes. I’ve learned that anytime I make a casserole, to just make two of them and freeze the other one. It really doesn’t take anymore time and saves me from cooking a meal on another day. It’s so handy that I will continue to do it from now on to have an easy meal for busy nights or nights that we just don’t feel like cooking. I thought I’d leave a few of my favorite make-ahead meal recipes here for anyone who wants them!

1. Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

Confession: I don’t love ground beef. I never have. BUT we raise cattle and my husband loves beef, so we end up eating it more than I would like. My trick to eating it, is to change it up…often. Casseroles allow me to do that. This sloppy joe tater tot casserole is a crowd pleaser. I like that you can easily adjust it to make a little or a lot and it freezes really well. It’s also really easy to add veggies to, like corn or peppers.

2. Runza Casserole

We call this Bierock Casserole here in Kansas. I didn’t know what Bierocks were until I met my husband. If you’ve never had one, try one! They are hearty and filling and delicious. Bierocks are usually a mix of beef, cabbage, onions, and seasoning baked inside of a roll. They are great to freeze and pull out for lunches on the go, but they can be somewhat time consuming. What I love about this casserole version is that it’s soooo much easier. You still get all the yummy flavor of a Bierock without having to stuff individual rolls.

3. Chicken Pot Pie

Who doesn’t love dinner in pie form? Crazy people, that’s who. I love chicken pot pie. It’s so easy to customize with your favorite seasonings and veggies. Sometimes I make pie crust from scratch and sometimes I don’t. Just depends on my mood and how much time I have. Sometimes we do a savory beef version to change things up, but I’m pretty partial to the chicken version.

4. Eggplant Parmesan

This is my favorite. I could eat egglplant parm every day. Throw in a basket of bread sticks and I’m a happy gal. Luckily my husband likes it too. You could make it with meat sauce if you wanted to, but I like this as a meatless meal for a change.

5. Shredded Chicken

I love having shredded chicken ready to go. I don’t have a recipe really, but I usually just throw about 4-5 chicken breasts (I use frozen most of the time) in our crockpot and add salt, pepper, and garlic and let it cook all day on low. Then I just shred it with two forks and put it in a freezer bag. I use it on salads, paninis, soups, casseroles, pizza, etc. I also like to make a batch with red, yellow and green peppers and some fajita or taco seasoning for a quick meal of burritos, quesadillas, fajitas, or tacos.

I also love to freeze lasagna, enchiladas, chili, marinated chicken and breakfast sandwiches and burritos. I love to cook, but man is it nice to have some things all ready to go on busy night!

What are your favorite make-ahead meals? Or quick meals for busy nights?

 

DIY Basket Swag Light

IMG_2936I hate to admit this, but sometimes my husband has a good idea….it doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes he surprises me.

We have this corner of our living room that is apparently where light goes to die. Literally. I had a lamp there and it just died and had to be trashed. It broke an embarrassingly long time ago and since then we’ve been living with a dark, dreary corner. We also have these ceiling hooks that have been there since we moved in and I kept meaning to take them down, but never got around to it. This is a case where my procrastination has paid off, because for months I’ve been seeing so many awesome swag lights all over the interwebs. I decided keeping those hooks, which are conveniently placed right by an outlet, and finding a cool swag light would the best solution to my problem.

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So I searched and searched for the perfect light. Something like this caged pendant light is what I had in mind. I almost pulled the trigger on one, but then Brian told be he had seen an old egg basket in one of the buildings on the farm and that it would make a cool light. So I waited not knowing what the heck this basket was going to look like or if it would work with the light cord we needed to buy. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised with what he brought home. It was perfect. I even liked the chipped, yellow paint. So all I had to purchase was a light cord and a light bulb.

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The only thing I didn’t really like was the baskets handle hanging down. I was also afraid it would be a little too tempting for our toddler to grab and try to swing from. I wanted to remove it, but once again, Brian chimed in and said I might want it on there some day. He’s right, and if I remove it, it will just get lost and I’ll never find it when I decide I want it. So instead, I grabbed some wire I had on hand, it’s basically fishing wire but silver. I think it is really meant for making jewelry, but I just wrapped a little around the handle and basket and tied it. Viola.

 

After that, all I had to do was thread my light cord through the hole and add a light bulb.

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I’m really happy with our new light. And I like that it was a collaborative effort and my husband can’t complain about it, because it was his idea too. My light cord and Edison bulb together cost about $25, so not too bad on the wallet either. Maybe someday I’ll break down and paint it, but for now, I’m really liking the yellow, vintage vibe.