Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Steps

Anastasia took her very first steps today!!!  I was making dinner while Daddy played with her, and I missed them.  Max SCREAMED, "MEEEGAAANN!!!" and I dropped everything and took the stairs 2 and 3 at a time. My heart was in my throat--I thought for sure she fell and hurt herself BAD or was choking or something terrible with the way he yelled my name. I got up there and he calmly stated, "Staci just took her first steps."  At which point I screamed, hugged her, and cried.

I cried for a few reasons.  1) I missed them.  I immediately felt like a horrible mother.  HOW on EARTH could I miss my daugher's VERY FIRST steps?! 2) Tears of joy.  I don't think I ever truly understood happy tears until giving birth.  What an amazing feeling. MY BABY IS WALKING!  and 3) a small part of my brain said, "HOLY SHIT! I REALLY HAVE TO BABYPROOF NOW!!"  and if you have ever tried to babyproof anything, you totally get that one.

Never fear, Staci did a repeat performance after dinner.  She can take 2-3 steps before she needs someone to catch her, but gosh--you gotta start somewhere, right? I am so happy I got to see it.  My baby girl is walking!  What a momentous occasion!

Dearest Staci,
  Congratulations sweetheart.  May those first steps be the start of some very happy feet for you.  Wherever they lead--be it to dance, to run, to jump, to spin in circles until you fall down, to far off places, may you always find yourself surrounded by love and laughter. My heart is so full right now. 



Friday, May 14, 2010

Officially a grown-up

On Mother's Day, 2010, I officially became a grown-up.  That is, according to my mother.  The fact that I actually planted flowers and mulched all by myself were the actions that officially crossed me over from child to adult in her mind. 

I love my mother.  She is awesome.  And she knows it.  So awesome in fact, that she knows the only way to get something done well is to do it yourself.  So, as you may have guessed, there were many school projects growing up that got turned in that were much more her work than mine. The same goes for household chores and things like yard work.  I never had much of an interest, perhaps because I never had the opportunity to do anything other than pull weeds out of the rocks lining either side of our driveway.  I mean really, who wouldn't get excited about that?
In addition to planting flowers, I am also growing a few herbs in my window sill and have managed to keep two aloe plants alive.  I have never been able to keep plants alive! I just always forgot they were there.  What has changed?  Perhaps my mom is right.  Perhaps I truly am, finally at 27, the married mother of one--perhaps I truly have become a grown-up.  *shivers*

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kitchen Adventures

I recently had the opportunity to try Dream Dinners at a fraction of the price thanks to Groupon.  I had such a fun time going in and assembling our meals--I made 6 meals in just over an hour.  Usually, it takes me about an hour to make dinner once you include all the vegetable chopping, so to make SIX dinners in that time frame was awesome.  All of the chopping was done for me.  All I had to do was measure out ingredients and assemble them in freezer bags.  It was SO easy--and fun! They set out soft drinks, coffee and leftover goodies like chocolate chip cookies nad cupcakes.  so, I was in heaven.   

Over the next couple of weeks, we enjoyed our meals.  A typical meal needs to be defrosted in the refrigerator first.  Then, you cook the meat, add the pre-assembled sauce/glaze/vegetable medley and serve.  It took so much stress out of my evening.  I love to cook, but it's difficult with a toddler crawl-running everywhere and a husband who just came home from work and is tired.  I was falling into the spaghetti/chili/frozen pizza (eek!) rut and really needed some new ideas to spice things up. 

Going there and seeing how the whole make-ahead-meal world operates was eye opening and inspired me to do a little freezer cooking on my own.  Over the past few days, I doubled the recipe of a few of our favorites and froze the leftovers.  I have recently been cooking out of Deceptively Deliscious, and from there made and froze taco filling, bolognese sauce, and sloppy joe filling.  I also pre-assembled a new to us recipe I found through allrecipes.com for Chicken Teriyaki in orange ginger garlic sauce.  I can't wait to try it!

So, in case you are wondering what I mean by 'pre-assemble', I will break it down for you.  I did all of the prepwork for this recipe and froze it in a ready-to-cook state.  I bought some chicken breast tenderloins and threw a little over a pound in a freezer bag.  Then I took another gallon size bag and stuffed it down in a bread crumb container, folding the edges over the top.  This way, the bag doesn't fall over spilling my ingredients everywhere. I dumped all of the ingredients for the orange ginger garlic sauce in and then sealed the bag.  I even included a small freezer bag of brown rice (uncooked) just so that everything is together when I need it.  I can't wait to try it--it sounds so good, doesn't it?

Freezer cooking on my own definitely takes more time that going to Dream Dinners, but is also less expensive.  That said, Dream Dinners is still a great option for the busy family--most of their meals come in at under $4 a serving.  I just prefer to eat for much less!