Monday, July 27, 2015

Crockpot Freezer Meals

About a year and a half ago, I decided i wanted to start making some freezer meals to have on hand for when life is too busy to cook (so basically, everyday). I found some recipes, invited some friends, went shopping and we had fun prepping out meals together.

Ive been hosting these once a month or so. A week ago, two girlfriends came over on Sunday afternoon and we made thirty meals in two hours. Not too shabby, especially as there was a lot of gabbing in between chopping and measuring. I have picked some real winners and a couple losers. I plan to post some of my favorites this week. I hope you enjoy!

2 lbs ground beef, browned
6 oz tomato paste
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tblsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 15oz cans kidney beans

Freezer Instructions: Add all ingredients to prelabeled bag. Freeze. When ready to eat, thaw in fridge overnight.
Cooking Instructions: Dump everything into a crockpot with 1 cup water. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

We have also taken this camping and just heated over the fire in a big pot for an hour or so. The cocoa powder and cinnamon make the flavor unique and really, really delicious.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

summa time

 aliza is getting to the age where she is truly in love with her big brother. she says "JAKE-AH!" whenever she sees him and always wants to be doing whatever he is doing. its too much for my heart.
 Jacob is way into ninja turtles, thanks in large part to uncle max and uncle bryce. he wears his shell constantly, to eat, to bed, everywhere.

aliza is turning into quite the chatty cathy. she is doing great at repeating and understanding words, with her own special brand of attitude. she is a little bit sassy, a lot independent (way more than jacob was at her age) and a lot of mini-me. (notice she is also wearing a "turta" shirt.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bucket List Check Off

...running a half marathon, check!

I wanted to run the 13.1 miles in 2.5 hours. I hit it right on the money. I trained for several months, had a great running partner and a fun course. If you live in the area and haven't ran Prairie Fire, what are you waiting for? There were tons of people with signs and cheering, live music, coffee stations as well as water and gel stations, etc. Plus i scored some sweet bling. I felt very accomplished when it was over (nine months later i am still patting myself on the back, lets be honest) although i couldn't walk for three days. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stitch Fix #1

Have you heard of stitch fix? Lots of people have been saying how amazing it is, so I decided to try it. I filled out my style profile, linked to a pinterest board with several pins of things i liked, and wrote the stylist a note to the effect of "I have four small kids and a limited budget but i am trying to start dressing like a grown up." Then, I scheduled my first fix. Five items were delivered to my house. I tried them all on, decided what i wanted to keep, and sent the rest back in the pre paid envelope. Easiest shopping ever. I loved all five of my items if we are being honest, but kept these two. A cute navy dress that i can layer for fall or wear by itself in summer to church or work, and a polka dot casual shirt. Each item comes with a notecard giving two different ways to wear and accessory suggestions which is awesome!

Have you tried it? If you are interested, you can use my referral link and i get bonus cash. Thanks in advance! I really think you won't be disappointed. They are adding a wider range of sizes, including plus and maternity, so there is a little something for everyone. :)

I took pictures of me actually wearing these, but the lighting was terrible and my camera battery chose that moment to die. Next month, i plan to give you guys the full fashion show. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Our Four Year Old

Its only a few months late... but Jacob had the best birthday a four year old boy could ask for. We had planned it at the park, and it was drizzling on and off. We decided to go ahead with the party.

there was mud, there were snacks, there were happy happy children. best party ever.

Monday, October 27, 2014

birthday butterfly

 my sweet baby girl turned one last weekend! I can't even believe a year has passed. it is definitely quicker the second time around. we hosted a fall festival costume party to celebrate. Aliza dressed up as a monarch butterfly, and Jacob was Thomas the Tank Engine. Shane, Darci and their kids all had great costumes too: super heroes for the kids and Shane dressed as Jeremy. Hilarious. Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Tam made the trip down from Topeka too.

 Aliza can say hi, dada, cat, and nom nom nom. Hilarious words, right? Noticeably absent from the list is mama, but I'm trying to come to terms with that. She pulls to standing and cruises around on furniture, but absolutely refuses to stand by herself or take steps unassisted. She claps and waves and is just generally so sweet natured and happy (except when Jakey is picking on her).
I tried to have all fall themed food. Ghost bananas were a hit at a previous party we went to, so they made a reappearance. I made her applesauce muffins instead of a cake and spider web pizzas. It was fun and tasty!
 She mostly loves to eat anything and everything, often two fisting it. Ever since her lip and tongue tie revision surgery in August, she has been chewing and swallowing much better and without choking all the time. I have yet to find a food she refuses. I know its a matter of time before she gets a little pickier, but for now I am just enjoying it.
Kris was in town from LA with her kidlets, so the whole Gibson crew was together at the party. I love them!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spring Camping Trip

 We went with some families from our small group on a camping trip in May. Yes, I know it is October and this post is a little overdue. The kids had fun and did surprisingly well sleeping outside. It was hot and there were a lot of bugs, but it was still a good time. We are looking forward to the next trip in a few weeks!

Florida Trip

 My mom and I took the kids to Florida last month. She was having her 40th reunion, and I wanted to introduce Aliza to her Florida family. We spent a couple of days in St. Augustine, where we got to see Grandma (Great-Grandma) and Aunt Laura, Uncle Greg, Kristin, Anna and Alex. It was great to see them and spend time there.
 On the way down to St. Pete, we stopped in Orlando for lunch with my oldest friend. We have been friends since third grade at Deep Creek Elementary. We haven't seen each other in over 15 years, but it was like we have spent time together everyday. We are so much alike and have many similar interests. Our kids are about the same age, so she brought her oldest down to St. Pete so he and Jakey could play at the beach together. It was great. I'm proud to say I introduced her to the Outlander series, just in time for the Starz series. :)
While in St. Pete, we spent time with even more family and friends. swam in the pool for hours every morning and spent every afternoon at the beach. The kids loved soaking up the sun and hanging out and I enjoyed relaxing. Although we had a heck of a time getting home (American Airlines is the worst customer service EVER), overall, it was a great trip.
p.s. three year old travel trip - find a car seat that can go on the airplane! A lot of them can (but not all). I had no trouble with Jacob squirming or getting anxious or anything, since is he used to being buckled up in the car already. It made the air travel portion of the trip just a little easier. :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

i can't believe he is 3!

Jacob turned three a couple weeks ago. He is growing and learning so much.

He likes:
diggers (we have to drive out of our way if we know of a construction site, especially if they are moving)
building with his blocks
playing outside (tee-ball, digging in the dirt with his diggers, picking up rocks and sticks)
singing (he can sing ABCs, rock a bye baby, twinkle twinkle, zaccheus, itsy bitsy spider, if you're happy and you know it, and others)

He speaks very clearly and with a great vocabulary. The doctor said at his three year appt that he had the verbal skills of a four year old. the only funny thing he does is to reverse all his blends that start with an s (sk, st, sp etc) so spider becomes puhsider, screws are kuhsrews, etc.) its actually pretty adorable. i'm sure he will eventually grow out of it so i'm just enjoying this little idiosyncrasy for now it makes singing itsy bitsy spider that much more fun (spider! spout! over and over) 
he has started to make a weird face when posing for pictures. knucklehead!

he has an active imagination and is very physical. he loves running, jumping, stomping, etc. very much all boy.

he can be very sweet and kind. he helps me around the house by unloading the silverware from the dishwasher, helping sort and change laundry from washer to dryer and dryer to couch (the folding zone), sweep (give the kid a Swiffer and he WILL get all the cat hair up), entertaining Aliza when I am cooking or otherwise occupied, and helping me cook by stirring and measuring.

he is a pretty great kid. i'm so lucky to be his mommy!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

happy easter!

Jacob turned three and Aliza six months right around Easter time. They are growing up so quickly - I can't even handle it. We spent Easter Sunday in Topeka with Jeremy's family, all 75 of them. Jacob had way too much fun playing with his cousins, looking at Grandpa's tractors, and watching the cows. My sweet Easter bunny Zee basically spent the whole day being too cute for words and charming everyone.

We celebrated on Saturday with my family. Jacob got to hunt eggs with tasty (and healthy!) snacks in them and we had a delicious brunch. He enjoyed hunting the eggs so much he keeps asking if he can do it again. Hilarious. The weekend sped by but it was so wonderful to spend time with friends and family and celebrate the Resurrection!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

new kitchen!

ok there is actually still a lot to do in order to properly classify this as a new kitchen, but check out the results of jeremy's hard work last weekend!

being without a stove or access to our dishes and cups for three days was hard (who would have thought i would get tired of eating out???) but boy was it worth it. next up, new cabinets and countertops... ok i'm dreaming. those are pretty far down the priority list. but they are on the list!!!

spring time (finally!)

we live about a half mile from a park and pond. it is finally warm enough (and light enough in the evenings) to take family walks after dinner. last time, jeremy brought his fishing pole. jacob acted interested for all of thirty seconds, then amused himself by throwing sticks in the water.
aliza and i sat and watched our boys and enjoyed some sunshine and fresh air.  then we all walked to the park for some time on the swing set and slides. aliza is still a little small for these activities, but as long as she can watch jacob run around, she is a happy camper. she sure does love her big brother!

Friday, March 7, 2014

so its been a while...

 we've been busy! Aliza is almost five months. growing like a weed (99+% in height, 85% in weight) and smiling all the time. working on rolling over, but seconds away from sitting. everyone says it because its true: time goes so much faster with number 2!

we've also been working hard on the house. Jeremy (with a little bit (ok a LOT) of help from ryan and shane) installed new wood laminate in all of our bedrooms and living room/dining room. the whole upstairs has been refreshed. add in our redone bathroom (merry Christmas to us!) and our new living room furniture (turning 30 has a way of making a person need grown up couches) and we feel like we are living in a whole new house!

jakey is getting big fast. he starts "short sports" at the bel aire rec center in a few weeks - his first, but probably not last, organized sports "team." he talks about everything, loves playing his drum kit and guitar, and playing with his diggers. he helps me cook, helps Jeremy work in the garage, and Aliza adores him.

I hope to post more often, but I thought that at the beginning of the year and here we are march and its my first post of the year. :) life has a tendency to get in the way...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Meet Aliza

last thursday at my doctor appt, my dr told me that baby girl was head down, perfect position and she thought she would see me over the weekend to deliver. the weekend came and went and i stayed pregnant. given how late jakey came, i wasnt too concerned.  then, at my appt this week on thursday, the dr checked me and felt something weird. she said she thought it was her hand above her head but ran to get the sono machine to make sure. she put the wand on my belly and got a strange expression on her face. "youre never going to believe this. she flipped this week and now she is breech." she went on to explain how this basically never happens, and marveled that i didnt feel her flipping. baby must have done it while i was asleep, or just with all the torso space i have she just wasnt too cramped to flip at will.

basically our option of "wait until labor and water breaking before going to the hospital" became "lets schedule an external version this afternoon because if your water breaks you will have to have a c-section."  she told me there was about a 70% chance of the version being successful, and if it was, we would induce immediately so she didnt flip back to breech again.

i went home and called my mom and jeremy to let them know we were having a baby that afternoon, cleaned the house, packed all the last minute stuff in the hospital bag and did some down dog stretching to try and convince her to flip back around.

we checked into the hospital at 2pm. at 230ish, they checked me and did another sonogram. sure enough, our little gymnast had flipped back around and was head down again, although she had one hand stretched above her head and wasnt in total birthing position. thankfully, this took the idea of an emergency c-section off the table, so we started the pitocin and settled in to wait on her arrival.

just like with jacob, the first few hours of contractions went from barely noticeable to slightly uncomfortable. unlike with him, after they broke my water and increased the dosage numerous times, i didnt keep dilating and she didnt move down the canal to come out. after six hours of labor and one hour of very intense labor, we decided on an epidural. i was compleye exhausted already since jacob had woken us up around 530 that morning and i never really fell back to sleep. the pain was pretty bad and i wasnt sure how much longer i could do it, since i had been stuck at a 7 for almost 2 hours. her hadn was still above her head and she hadnt moved down either. after getting the medicine going, but before it really kicked in, things started happening very quickly. i went from 7 to pushing in about 5 minutes. after maybe five or so minutes of pushing, the doctor called the nicu drs and told them to come quick. she gave me an epiisiotmy and had me keep pushing, even between contractions, because baby's heart rate dropped dramatically and she wasnt moving. finally, after using the suction thing and several more minutes of pushing, she came out. she was a hideous color of purple black and didnt cry at all.

the nicu drs took her to the heat table and gave her oxygen and got her breathing and moving. i was freaking out and jeremy kept reassuring me that she was fine, he could see her moving on the table and to relax while they sewed me up and cleaned everything. finally, they got her to the point where we could have our hour of skin to skin time. it was then that jeremy confessed that he really had thought she might have been gone when she came out and was totally lying to me to help me keep it together, ive never been happier to be lied to in my life. her apgar improved from 3 to 8 and all was well in our little world. her official stats are: Aliza Fern born at 133am on 10/18. 7 lbs, 5 oz, 19.5 in long. We are calling her zz (or zeezee) and her name is pronounced aleeza. Aliza is hebrew for joyful and fern was jeremy's great gma's name.

we moved upstairs to the postpartum unit and tried to catch up on an entire night's worth of sleep, which is hard to do when nurses and doctors keep coming in to take vitals and check on the baby. sigh. all day friday was a parade of people and phone calls, and a lovely flower arrangement from work. jeremy went out to get himself dinner and came back with jacob, so he could meet his sister.
he thought it was fun to hold her but was very easily distracted. he tried to share his milk with her, and thought it was pretty silly that she drinks special milk from mommy's chest. given his recent obsession with eyeballs, we had to watch to make sure he didnt try to open hers up to check if they were there.  he kept asking why she wasnt crying(maybe i overcoached him that sister would probably cry alot?) and wanted toput her in the crib since she was obviously asleep. the kid isnt going to win any babysitting awards, but he does love his sister and i think hes gonna be a good big brother.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Baby's Room

Is looking worse than when we started, but real progress is being made. All the trim and doors are painted white. Now we need the four shade of coral and time to paint and we will keep moving. Until then, disaster area doesn't even begin to describe the poor girl's space. Hopefully she hangs out in the womb full term, because we clearly have a lot to do before the end of October!