Saturday, February 28, 2009

Most Pierced Woman ... Whoa

Yeah, has anyone else read about Elaine Davidson? She is the most pierced woman in the world and has been since 2000 when she had 462 piercings. She now has 6,005 piercings (over 1,000 of which she claims are internal ... according to What is she thinking? She claims to not even enjoy getting pierced (which was my first thought when I heard about her). What would possess somone to do this to their body?

Other Mothers

I often think about all the other mothers out there and wonder what their lives are like.

For instance, we met a blind mother-to-be at our Beginning with Baby class. What is life like at her house? How does she care for her child? Does she have help or can she do it all on her own? Every so often when I look at my son, I am reminded that she has never seen her child. What must that be like?

On the other side of the spectrum, there is Nadya Suleman. *sigh* How can she possibly have the capacity to care for all her fourteen children? Unmarried and unemployed, she seems foolishly hopeful that this will all work out in the end. Now, that is not to say that if a person is married and/or has a job that things will certainly work out. But she has no help (besides her parents). I could go on and on for days about how irresponsible I think she is, but I will stop there. We've all heard it before.

My fascination with the lives of other mothers probably started when I began reading about Christine Coppa, blogger for and and stylishly single mom. She gave readers a window into her life and from the minute I started reading her blog, when her son J.D. was just a bun in the oven, I was hooked. Reading about her experiences also made it easier to dream about having a son of my own ... I hadn't had much experience with little boys and honestly had no idea what to expect. (By the way, it is a true JOY!)

It takes all kinds, doesn't it?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Baby Whisperer ... hmmm

Well, as my baby boy hasn't been taking very good naps lately (and still gets up once a night ... sometimes twice), I decided to search out some "professional" advice. A friend of my sister's (Hi, Jes!) suggested Tracy Hogg's The Baby Whisperer. As he only naps in half hour increments giving me very little time to read without distraction, I decided to shortcut through the book to the sleep section (since he's a good eater and all ... at 21 lbs. I'd say so anyways). I know, this is probably not the ideal way to follow someone's "teachings", but it's a big thick book and I don't have a ton of time.

So I'm reading the book and now have begun to wonder, "Am I an awful parent?" She has all these schedules mapped out, how feedings are at EXACTLY the same time every day, etc. She talks about how at four months the baby should be switched from a three-hour feeding schedule to a four-hour feeding schedule ... my baby is almost six months old and still eats about every three hours. Am I stunting him for life?! Agh!

I need honest answers, people ... am I doing this parenting thing all wrong? Is a more relaxed, slightly haphazard parenting style going to end up hurting my son in the long run? Should I be doing what feels right or should I be listening more to the "professionals"? (Our ped told us to put him in his crib for an hour twice a day ... what he does with that hour is up to him, even if he cries the entire time. Didn't even do it once.)

*On a semi-related note, my son just took an hour and a half nap because I let him babble himself back to sleep when he woke up at the 30 minute mark ... hmmm.*

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Good Thing

My son is sick ... no, that is not a good thing. But his little nose is starting to run something fierce and the tissues I had were making his nose red, so I decided (at 9:00 p.m.) that I needed to go to the store to get some. I was going to take him with me (yes it was raining cats and dogs), but my husband said he could take a break from all the work he had to do to watch him. So I scooted out in the rain, in the dark, with a bit of a bad mood cloud over my head.

When I got to the store, I had trouble finding a parking spot and had to park a little ways away. I made a run for it inside and that's when I saw him ... my favorite greeter. He's probably in his forties and is confined to a wheelchair, but every time I see him and he smiles at me it makes my day.

"Good evening, darlin'!" he smiled and said to me. The clouds lifted, my smile came back, and I was able to focus on the task at hand: Puffs Plus for my sick little boy.

I don't know his name or anything about him, except for the fact that he is such a nice man. And he is a good thing in my life.

What are good things in your life?

Beer Me Bread

Does anyone else out there love beer bread? I do! And I HATE beer. But in bread ... yummy!

I had a hankering for some beer bread the other day, so my mom (bless her heart) found me this awesome recipe on My husband made it last night and it was super!

Easy Beer Bread Mix

2 1/2 cups self-rising* flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (12 fluid oz.) can beer
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch baking pan.

2. In a bowl, mix the self-rising* flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Pour in the beer, and mix until just moistened. Transfer to the prepared baking pan. Top with the melted butter.

3. Bake 45 to 55 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

* If you aren't interested in buying a whole package of self-rising flour, you can make it yourself.
1 cup flour + 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt = 1 cup self-rising flour

Try it out! It tastes fantastic. I used Miller Lite beer, but I'm wondering if a honey wheat would add a different flavor.

On a side note, the check-out girl at the grocery store didn't card me when I bought the beer. What the heck?! Am I getting that old?

Sick Baby

I think my son might be sick. He has had a really stuffy nose since last night and his little fake cough that he does has turned into something a little more substantial. Poor kiddo. He even had trouble eating because his nose was so stuffy! I tried to suction the snot out, but I didn't get much ... and it made him cry so hard.

I feel like such a bad mommy, but he needed to have his nose cleaned out and he doesn't know how to blow it on his own yet.

Any ideas on how to make my boy feel better? I thought about steaming up the bathroom to clear things up ... has that worked for anyone else?

Sun Babe

So as I mentioned in my previous post, we are taking a trip to Florida at the end of March. Hopefully the weather will be nice and warm, as I'm hoping to get my son into the pool for the first time. That said, I am concerned about sunscreen for him. We bought some yesterday at Ulta (Neutrogena Baby stuff ... looks promising), but I'm wondering where to put it on him. I know that sounds stupid, but think about it ... he doesn't know not to rub his eyes when it's on his hands, he sticks his hands and his feet in his mouth all the time, and should I put it on his scalp? He has really light hair and I would hate for his scalp to get burned, but I don't want the cradle cap to come back. (sigh) So much to think about.

Not to mention trying to pack for him ... oy! I just want to dump all his drawers and his entire closet into a suitcase and call it good. How do you pack for someone so small when the weather could be so variable? And all the toys he plays with ... what about those? Not to mention we need to bring his pack-n-play, car seat, some form of a high chair, etc.

I'm planning on buying his diapers down there ... no need to schlep them all the way from Michigan. But I will probably bring swim diapers with us in case they are tough to come by where we are staying.

Oh, and does anyone know of any baby lip balm that has sunscreen in it? We currently use one that doesn't have SPF but I'd like to find one if possible.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Post Baby Body and a Swimsuit

So we're heading to Florida in a few weeks (end of March) and I'm starting to look at my swimwear, wondering what in the world I should wear. I have lost all the baby weight, but my body looks nowhere near what it did before ... those 64 pounds had to go somewhere and my skin seems to have taken the brunt of it. It's not nearly as taut as it used to be, and I'm wondering if it will ever go back to the way it was.

Probably not, I know, I know.

Anyhow, last night I tried on some tankinis my sister loaned me and they just didn't seem to work. (sigh) Even though most of them had underwires, they didn't seem very supportive in the chest area. So I tried on my favorite halter bikini top ... and it fit! Well, generally speaking anyway, although I think it might make my dad a bit uncomfortable.

I was originally thinking I should go with a tankini to cover up the tummy (both the slightly saggy skin and the odd bruise I STILL have from my c-section), but now I'm wondering if a new bikini is in order for the support of my newly buxom chest. And is it okay for a mom to wear a bikini? I'm not talking the string variety, don't get me wrong. (cringe) But something with a bit of coverage and support ... would that be okay? Appropriate?

Brand Loyal to a Fault?

I don't know if any of you out there are like me, but I find myself being totally brand loyal. I buy Tide, Cascade, Downy, Jif, Kraft Cheese, Fiber One, etc.; I almost never buy the generic brand and rarely stray from the brand I am used to unless someone tells me they really liked this or that. When we lived in Dearborn, I saw that Farmer Jack's brand of grape juice was on sale, and since my husband is often shocked and appalled at the price of juice, so I decided to give it a try. Big mistake. It tasted disgusting! Maybe it was just me and what I am used to, but I could barely drink it.

I clip coupons and often have them for the brands I like to buy, but am I being silly? For example, I can buy Cascade brand dishwasher detergent with a coupon, OR I could buy the store brand for less. Inevitably I buy Cascade (though I do try to pair coupons up with sale prices), but in these difficult economic times I'm wondering if I'm doing the smart thing for my family.

Any advice or personal wisdom about brands and brand loyalty?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Best Bets: Baby Clothing

Hi there! Yes, I know ... I've only been a mom (officially) for a little under six months. But in the time I've been a mom, I have come to prefer a few products. Here are a few of my favorites in the clothing department.

Sleep Sacks (either by Halo or Carter's)

They are fantastic for our baby as he refused to be swaddled (either by a blanket or a swaddle-me sleeper). I never have to worry about a blanket covering his mouth and nose, and they always seem to keep him so warm and snuggly. If you want a sleep sack with sleeves for the cooler months, then you'll probably have to go with Carter's ... that said, they only come in one 0-9 mo. size - which our boy outgrew in month five or so. The Halo ones are generally sleeveless, come in a variety of sizes, and have a reverse-direction zipper for easy changes (and so the pull doesn't poke baby in the chin).

Carter's Wiggle-Proof Socks

Hallelujah! A sock that doesn't come off ... even if my son pulls on it. I don't have as much knowledge (price, sizes, etc.) on these as I should, but we just found them a month ago and they are much harder to come by. For some reason, Babies R Us doesn't seem to carry them very often. You'll have a much easier time finding them at Kohl's or JC Penny. If you can't find them and live in an area with a Meijer, you can try their Falls Creek brand tube socks for babies.

Carter's Drool Bibs

With a thin layer of water/drool repellant material in the center, these bibs are fantastic for keeping baby's clothes dry and moisture away from his/her skin. Another great feature of these bibs: a side closure. In fact, in my experience, any bib with a side closure is ideal; they allow you to fasten and unfasten the bib without having to hold the baby's head up for a long time, and the baby doesn't have to lay on a bulky, uncomfortable closure.

In general, I love Carter's products, but their clothing in particular has been a pleasure. Our son has a longer torso, and Carter's brand onesies and rompers offer more length in the torso than other brands do (namely Gerber and Little Ones). Plus, Babies R Us always seems to have some sort of deal going on Carter's clothes, so they end up being best price-wise as well.

Gymboree is also another good brand for baby clothes, albeit a little more on the expensive side. However, as my mom and sister can attest, they often have great deals on their out of season clothing ... as long as you are up for a little digging through some bins. And I must say, their clothes are extremely well-made and too cute for words.

Tasty Tuesday: Country Chicken Casserole

Sorry I forgot to do an Mmm ... Monday post! So here's my favorite recipe for you on this tasty Tuesday. I got the original recipe from a free women's magazine here in Grand Rapids, but I will post it with my personal tweaks. If you really want the original, just let me know and I'll either post it or send it to you personally.

Country Chicken Casserole

2 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) condensed cream of potato soup
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups cooked vegetables*
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups prepared Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

1. Stir soup, milk, thyme, black pepper, vegetables, and chicken in 3 quart shallow baking dish. Top with stuffing.

2. Bake at 400*F for 25 minutes or until stuffing is golden brown.

* I use a can of cooked, sliced carrots, and then make up the rest of the 4 cups with a mixture of peas and corn. I prefer frozen peas and corn, which I cook ahead of time.

This recipe is really easy, can be put together ahead of time (though I would top with stuffing right before you put it in the oven), and is super yummy! It is like a big dish of home.

Blog Addiction

Hello, my name is Nicole, and I am addicted to blogs.


I have a bunch of blogs that I read, one I found through my favorite magazine (Glamour) ...

some I found through the comments on the blog above ...

one I found through one of those blogs ...

one I found through my sister ...

some are just my friends ...

and then there is the jewelry ...

So you could say I have a problem. Anyone else want to confess a blog addiction?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Funny Valentine

My son had his first Valentine's Day last week and he felt like he should do something special for his "girl" - a.k.a. his aunt. He adores her and felt that this would be the appropriate holiday to show his nephew love and affection for her.

So he got all dressed up and bought her some presents and then insisted I take him over to her house before she left to visit friends in Indiana.

Isn't he adorable?! He just loves his aunt.

Knit Blocks

By the way, if anyone is wondering ... my sister made my son the adorable knit blocks you see in the pictures from the post the other day.

Isn't she super talented?!

Inspirational Article

While I am not a huge fan of all things Oprah, my mom had me read an article from the March 2009 issue of O Magazine entitled "The Gift". It tells the story of Lynn Page and how, though she went through a personal tragedy, she helped out countless babies through the donation of breast milk.

I won't ruin the article for you ... just go out and read it when you get the chance. And bring some tissues.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Isn't He Adorable?

A Great Gift Idea for a Pregnant Lady

If anyone out there needs a great, unique gift idea for a pregnant friend or family member, I highly recommend getting her a gift certificate for a pregnancy massage. I received one while I was pregnant with my son and let me tell you, it was marvelous! Not only does it make you feel a little pampered (before the Pampers), but it also helps relieve stress and tension in your overworked body.

They will either have her lay on her side or use a pregnancy massage pillow that has the center cut out for her belly; I have tried both and would recommend either. It is important to make sure that the massage therapist avoids certain spots that are thought to trigger contractions, although towards the end there I thought about going in and asking her to press the crap out of those pressure points.

Anyhow, a pregnancy massage is a wonderful gift for any mother-to-be and will surely be appreciated.

An Epiphany About Clutter

Last night I had an epiphany about clutter ...

Clutter is a magnet for more clutter.

Even just one little thing left in the wrong spot can attract tons of things that also don't belong there.

I know this seems simple, but in my twenty seven years of life this has apparently never dawned on me. I have been trying soooo hard to keep our house clean and stay on top of the clutter. I opened a new toy for my son yesterday, and left two twisty ties on the coffee table - if I had allowed them to stay there for an extended period of time, I know they would have grown into a pile of clutter. So I put them away.

It takes a lot of dedication and a decent amount of effort, but clutter has to be stopped in its tracks or it can take over your house. And in my personal experience, if it takes over your house it will take over your mind and spirit, too. Clutter can weigh you down, making you feel like you are drowning in stuff ... and that is no way to live.

Have a wonderful day! Battle on in the war on clutter!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eight Times!

My beautiful baby boy rolled over from front to back eight times tonight! I am so proud of him.

Just had to share.

Leviticus Jewelry

If I had extra money to spend on jewelry, I would spend some on necklaces and earrings from Leviticus Jewelry ( It is gorgeous and unique! And it's not all expensive ... some of it is, but some of it isn't. Most of the ones I like aren't too too bad, but I know I should be saving my money for other things so I haven't bought anything yet.


So pretty.

Thoughts on a New Car

My husband, son, and I had dinner at our friends' house last night and while we were there they mentioned that her parents were trying to sell their minivan and were we interested. They gave us the stats on it (2001 Dodge Caravan, great condition, 100,000+ miles, etc.) and told us to think about it. So we did. We talked it over when we got home and we still don't know yet, but I have a feeling we will be at least taking a look at it.

Something my husband said during the course of our discussion really struck a chord with me. His main goal in us getting a bigger car is that we'll eventually (hopefully, knock on wood) have to tote around two kids and that "in a year and a half to two years we'll have two kids so we'll need a bigger car", maybe we should get it, etc. At that point I started doing the math in my head and realized I was gonna have to be pregnant again sometime in the near future. Whoa. Yes, I realize you usually have to be pregnant to get a baby, but it soooo feels like I JUST did that. I JUST lost the 64 pounds (yikes!) I gained with my son.

Don't get me wrong, I loved being pregnant ... coolest feeling ever to have someone kicking around inside you. The end kinda sucked (carpal tunnel syndrome, puffy from so much water-weight, stiff joints, etc.) but it was totally worth it. But the next time I am pregnant I don't get to focus all on me; I'll have my little boy to take care of. And what happens if I gain that much weight again? Would I be able to carry my kiddo around like I would want to? Oy!

And on a related topic, which of our cars would we be getting rid of? Would we try to sell my beloved Lola? (Yes, my family names our cars ... jealous?) I have had her since spring break of my junior year of high school ... she's been with me longer than my husband! As many fits as she has given me, and as "jank" as she is (according to my sister), I would probably cry if I had to give her up. Sooooo many memories.

Back to the potential new car, though ...

It would be so nice not to have to whack my head on the top of my car trying to get my son out, not to have to wrestle the stroller into my trunk, not to have to fill the rest of my car with groceries because the stroller takes up the entire trunk. But is this the right car for us? Only time will tell.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Can You Tell I'm Hungry?

Just a quick post ... I was just making up the menu for this week and I am sooooo excited about Wednesday night's dinner. It's from my casserole cookbook and it is called ...

After Thanksgiving Casserole

Turkey ... stuffing ... mashed potatoes ... all in one casserole!

Whoa. Did that just blow your mind or what?!

Just kidding. But seriously, I'm so hungry and that sounds soooooo good. Ooh, and I'm going to serve cranberry sauce (from a can, of course) and peas (or corn) on the side. Thanksgiving in February! Yay!

I'll have to let you know how it tastes ... who knows, it could be the next Mmm ... Monday recipe!

Mmm ... Monday: Cowboy Casserole

I'm not making this tonight for dinner (things just didn't go quite right today) but we had this last week and it was killer! It comes from the cookbook my sister got for me for Christmas (101 Things to Do with a Casserole) - I highly recommend it.

Cowboy Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (I used a yellow onion)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced (I didn't put these in ... not into the spicy foods)
2 packages (6.5 oz. each) corn bread mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 can (14.75 oz.) cream-style corn
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a frying pan, brown beef with onion and peppers until beef is done. Drain any excess grease and set aside.

In a bowl, combine corn bread mix, salt, baking soda, corn, milk, and eggs. Spread half the batter over bottom of a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle half the cheese over batter. Spoon meat mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle remaining cheese over meat mixture, and then spread remaining batter over top. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes, or until corn bread is golden brown and set in the center. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Bonus: this recipe is really easy to cut in half. I made a half batch, my husband and I ate most of it, then he had one serving as a leftover a couple days later.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

TMI ... the Things We Do for Love

Alright, I know for most people it's not generally considered good manners to talk about baby poop, but this is my blog and I'll do what I want! Just kidding.

In all seriousness, a baby's poop is one sure-fire way to tell how he/she is doing, if you're doing things right. And if our experiences can help someone else, then I feel like I should share.

Within the last month or so, my son has become rather constipated. We tried giving him barley to loosen things up; it worked for a while but then as we made the barley thicker things seemed to get worse. After looking at our pediatrician's website, we tried giving him water from a sippy cup (and then from a bottle) but he didn't seem to like that much and it was mostly going down his bib. So, after some friends came over and mentioned that she had had to increase her fiber intake to help with their son's constipation I decided to give that a try.

I eat Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal for breakfast and then a Fiber One bar (35%) and yogurt (20%) at some point during the day. It seems to be helping our son, and that's what's important. That said it is doing a number on me. (No pun intended.) Aside from when I was pregnant, I have never had such rampant gas in all my life. It is awful!

Alright, at the risk of mortifying my family any more than I already have, I will stop.

Bottom line: if your baby is constipated and you are breastfeeding it is worthwhile to try adding more fiber to your diet.

Today's Workout

I rode for forty minutes on our stationary recumbent bike and did ten minutes of yoga on the Wii Fit. And my Wii Fit age today was ... 20! Seven years younger than I actually am. I don't really feel 20, but it's nice to know that I'm doing something good for my health.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Keep That Body Moving!

I am currently watching my husband work out on his new Wii Fit. He worked out this morning (stationary bike and free weights) and now he's doing yoga and various strength training exercises (lunges, plank, etc.) on the Fit. I have to say, I am so proud of him for all the hard work he is doing to get into shape. It seems like he is feeling better than before, and he says he has had more energy since he has been exercising.

I was exercising for a little while there, but I have since stopped. It sucks because I know I should, but I have so little energy to do it. I am so tired all the time. And maybe exercising would help give me more energy, but it seems like quite the catch-22. I want my son to know that exercise is important. I want to be healthy so I can keep up with him and be the best I can be for him.

Alright, I need to make this public so I can be held accountable. Enough excuses. I am going to start exercising. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do (a program vs. doing what I can, when I can) but I will keep you updated.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Thing She Likes to Drink is Ink

Okay, so I would LOVE to get another tattoo. I have two already - a heart with wings near my hip bone and a compass rose on the back of my neck - and I love them both. My rule is that I can only get a tattoo if I have thought about it for at least three months, knowing exactly what I would get and where I would get it. As crazy as it sounds, I'd like to get a tattoo in honor of my son on the inside of my wrist. I have several ideas of what I'd like to get (his birthdate, a turtle, his initials, etc.) but ...

(There's always a but.)

... my husband doesn't like tattoos. Neither do most of my family members.

So what's a girl to do?

Wii Fit Age ... Whoa

My husband got his Wii Fit last night. When the UPS guy came to the door, I exclaimed to our son, "Daddy's new toy is here!" My husband then proceeded to tell me that it is not a toy but a piece of exercise equipment. Oookay.

Either way, we both decided to register our Miis with it last night and found something rather shocking ... according to the little board, we both have "ages" of 38 years old! (We are both 27 years old.) I have to say, I wasn't expecting that. I am basically back down to my prepregnancy weight and it's a good weight for my height and frame. I could be a little more toned and have a little better cardiovascular fitness, but the board doesn't measure that. It just goes off your BMI score (mine was 22.13) and your score on a couple balance tests it runs.

So what gives?! I mean, I should be in better shape, but 38 years old?! I won't mind it saying that when I am 38 or older, but that's 11 years in the future. Agh, I am just so frustrated!

That said, I am going to go exercise (play?) now. Hopefully I can squeeze a good "workout" in before my boy wakes up.

Ahhh ... Thank You, Kiddo!

He slept through the night! Yay! It's not the first time he's done that, but I am so grateful he did. I was absolutely dragging yesterday and sooooo needed a good night's sleep.

We give that one very enthusiastic thumbs up!

Oh, and isn't the hat my sister made for him just adorable!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hopelessly Un-chic

Yup, that's me. Hopelessly un-chic. I feel uber-frumpy today ... probably because I am wearing the same thing I wear everyday - jeans, tank top, and a thin shirt (or sometimes cardigan) over it to keep me warm. This has become my uniform because I am breastfeeding my son everyday and have found it incredibly necessary to keep it simple. And whatever I wear has to be washable since he spits up and drools constantly.

Now, I'm not trying to complain here - if there was anyone/anything I was going to go frumpalicious for it's my son - but I have a whole closet full of cute clothes that I would love to wear. It's just that, sadly, things are now not practical.

I know it won't always be this way, that I won't always have to be lifting up my shirt every three hours (makes me sound like a flasher, huh?), but for right now I feel frumpy. I could also be feeling extra dowdy today because I found this new blog to read ... This girl takes pictures of what she wears everyday and posts them on her blog. And she is so chic. Yes, this is me jealous.

I just have to keep in mind who I am doing this for ...

A Baby in a Treetop?!

Yeah, I don't get lullabies. What the hell is a baby doing in his/her cradle in a treetop? And why are we singing so casually about it falling from the tree? And what happens to the baby when the cradle falls?! I am not a fan of cliffhangers.

So instead of the traditional lullabies, most of which I don't know all the words to, I find myself singing more unconventional "lullabies" to my son. Last night he got to hear "Wonderful World", initially sung by Louis Armstrong, and "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" from Green Day. Those are two songs that had slower tempos that I knew all the words to ... so I sang them to him. And yes, they are two of my favorite songs so why shouldn't he hear them?

I do need to add more songs to my repetoire, though. I was thinking of finding the lyrics to Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale". That song always relaxes me, and while I know a lot of the lyrics to it, I forget the order.

How do you feel about unconventional lullabies? And what about songs with swear words in them? (I was thinking of singing Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" to my son, but it has the word "damn" in it quite a bit.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mmm ... Monday: Ultimate Pizza Sauce

So, I thought I'd start doing at least one regular post a week. Since I am trying to be a better housewife, and by default a better cook, I thought I'd share some of my favorite recipes.

Tonight for dinner we had pizza with homemade sauce. Usually we use Ragu Pizza Sauce, but I wanted to try something a little more challenging ... and I thought it'd be nice to know everything that was going into the sauce. I found this recipe on back in August but hadn't tried it until a few weeks ago. It freezes incredibly well, and I would seriously consider making a double batch next time (a single batch makes enough for two pizzas).

Ultimate Pizza Sauce

1.5 hours 20 min. prep
Serves 4, 1-2 pizzas

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped (I left this out ... not a fan of celery)
1 garlic clove, minced (I used 2 ... I love garlic)
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seed (I left this out ... it smelled funny)

1. In a large skillet, melt butter with the oil. Add the onion, celery, and saute until soft and transparent.

2. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until smooth.

3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to slow simmer.

4. Simmer for 30 to 60 mintues (or not at all depending on your taste and time frame).

5. Remove the bay leaf and spread the sauce on your prepared pizza dough.

If you want to see the nutrition facts about this recipe, check out and look up recipe number 114392.

I really like this recipe, and we put the sauce on Boboli's 100% Whole Wheat Thin Pizza Crust. Try it out for yourself and see what you think!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Luxury I'm So Grateful For

I quit my part time job this past week. I used to work at Kirlin's Hallmark a few days a week before I had my son, and while the discount was nice (20%) and I liked my coworkers I LOVE being home with my son. That, and the fact that I spend less money now than I did when I was working, is why I quit.

I feel like getting to stay home with him is a total luxury. Now, that's not to say that it isn't hard work (trust me, it is), but I love being here for the little guy. I love seeing his face light up when I walk into a room.

Everything seems a little better since I have been staying home ... our house is cleaner, we've been eating in more, I feel less stressed. It's all good.

So maybe this post should be a thank you to my husband for going to work everyday for us so I can have the luxury of staying home. Thank you, sweetheart!

25 Random Things

Yes, I know this is a Facebook thing, but I really liked the idea.

1. My husband and I are high school sweethearts, and I love him dearly.
2. I love, love, love my son! (Big surprise there.)
3. I can't get enough of corn on the cob. But it has to be of good quality. Seriously, I can eat like 5 or 6 ears at a sitting.
4. I am constantly trying to be a better version of myself. Some days it goes well, some days not so much.
5. I'm not much of a cook, but I LOVE making casseroles! My sister got me a cookbook (101 Things to do with Casseroles) for Christmas and I've been making at least two a week ever since.
6. I'm jealous that my sister seems to be so effortlessly talented. Knitting, baking, finding things online, etc.
7. That said, I love my family. And I am SO glad we moved back to the west side of the state and are so close to them!
8. I forget sometimes that my son's baby monitor is NOT a two-way radio. Even with his door closed I still creep around the house like he can hear me.
9. I have had such trouble getting him to nap lately. His sleep is so precious to me now that I do everything almost silently trying desperately not to disrupt it. It is exhausting.
10. I want so badly for our house to be clean ... and it SO isn't.
11. I also really want to be more organized ... that is going better than I had expected.
12. I have fallen in love with covering shoe boxes with contact paper. Oh, and oatmeal boxes too! Cheap, yet adorable, storage.
13. Most days, my son wakes up and just starts talking to his mobile. Hands down one of the best parts of my day.
14. I love magazines (I subscribe to FIVE of them), but I have almost no time to read them.
15. If a magazine at the store has the words "easy dinners", "save money", "get organized", or "cute haircuts" on it I will probably buy it (unless it's super expensive).
16. I have been getting more and more sarcastic and snarky lately ... I need to stop that.
17. I have a sleep disorder (idiopathic hypersomnolence = falls asleep a lot/easily with no explanation) and have fallen asleep at the wheel before. It was terrifying, and honestly I am ashamed of it. Luckily, it hasn't happened in a long while. (knock on wood)
18. I knock on wood at least two or three times everyday and must be convinced that that actually does something.
19. I graduated MSU with a 4.0, left Albion with a 3.88, and graduated high school with a 4.013. That said, I worked A LOT and didn't socialize much.
20. I disliked school. Mostly elementary through high school, but I didn't like college as much as I probably should have.
21. I don't like change. I have had near panic attacks when changing to something new.
22. I do, however, LOVE the change of seasons. This dichotomy perplexes my husband.
23. Green has ALWAYS been my favorite color, and it might go back to my first Christmas when my dad bought me a Kermit the Frog stuffed animal.
24. I daydream all the time. Since I was little, I start ridiculous little soap operas in my head, conjuring up what might be if things in my life were different one way or another. Most of them start while I am in the shower ... this is probably why I take pretty long showers.
25. I am hungry almost all of the time. Almost every night I go to bed and can hear my stomach growling. Pregnant, nursing, or not I could almost always eat.