Friday, March 29, 2013

Minimizing Food Waste: Using Leftovers

Our home has three big culprits that contribute to our food waste. 1) Prepared meals that result in leftovers.  2)  Leftover ingredients from prepared meals.  3)  Purchased food that never gets made or eaten.

I will be discussing number 3 in a few days, when I talk about meal planning.  But, I wanted to share some small solutions for numbers 1 and 2.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Here we go

I start night school, today.  This is a big deal in my Mommy World, because it means I am giving up on 4 bedtimes, a week, for 6 months.  I might end up with Baby withdrawals.  This is going to be hard on me, but hopefully not hard on my little man.  This is going to be a crazy 6 months for this Mama.

Here we go!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Minimalism: Reducing Food Prep with Freezer Meals

One of my favorite ways to make meal time easier is freezer meals.  I started making freezer meals before Baby was born.  I knew we would be tired and healing (me) after he was born, but we would still be hungry.  I didn't want to result to fast food or junk, so we made some freezer meals ahead of time.  Now, I mostly just make double batches of certain things and freeze half for another time.

I don't have any of my own special recipes to share (I wish I did).  But, I thought I would give you a list of my favorite freezer meals.

I never use the whole box of lasagna noodles, and since I don't make this dish very often,  the noodles sit in my pantry for ever.  So, instead, I make one to eat and one to freeze.

Enchilada Casserole
Basically the same situation as the lasagna.  I don't use the whole package of corn tortillas, and I don't use them for much else, so I make another casserole to freeze.

Pasta Bake
Pasta Bake is nothing super unique, but sort of a random thing I threw together once and love.  It's so yummy.  Just noodles, veggies (peppers and onions in our house), sauce and cheese mixed together and thrown in a casserole dish.  I double the amounts and make an extra casserole dish to freeze.

Kevin's Stew
Our friend Kevin made this stew for us after Baby was born.  It was so good.  Although I'm sure he didn't create the recipe, we now lovingly call it "Kevin's Stew".
This is a slow cooker recipe.  Those tend to be large recipes.  I only make 1 batch, but it makes at least 2 meals worth.  Once it cools, I store it in freezer storage bags.  This means I can lay it flat in the freezer and it doesn't take up much space.
When we want to eat it, I take it out and let it thaw on the counter or in the fridge for a full day (we have a standing freezer that gets things REALLY frozen).  Then, I just dump it into a pot and heat it up.

Potato Soup
This is simply a matter of chopping more stuff, so making extra to freeze isn't much work at all.  I do the same thing to store this as I do with the stew.

This is my most used freezer meal.  I usually make a big batch of burritos when we are already making them for a meal.  It doesn't take me long.  I am very simple and just use black beans and cheese.  Not crazy healthy, but still better than fast food, and I'm quite certain it's cheaper.
I keep the burritos in a freezer storage bag, and I leave it at work.  This means I always have a lunch for the days that I do not have something to bring.  I take a burrito out in the morning and put it in the fridge to thaw.  Then, I stick it in the toaster oven for about 15 minutes.  It's a very yummy, very easy lunch.

Friday, March 15, 2013

When God Says No

I used to think I was being selfish, so I gave in and I gave up sleep.  "I can't do something just because I'm tired.  I need to do what is best for Baby."  "Being a mother means I put his needs first." But, by his age, how is it selfish to teach him that night time is for sleeping?  How is it selfish to give my baby a well rested, more patient, more engage-able Mother?  How is it selfish to teach him to be independent and give him confidence that he is OK without me by his side every minute? 

I finally hit my breaking point.  Baby was on a consistent schedule waking up every 2 hours demanding to be nursed.  He would have nothing to do with Daddy, a sippy cup, a bottle, a paci, a cuddle, distracting toys....he wanted nothing, but me.  I was afraid to search for answers, since the "Cry-It-Out", leave him alone in his room until he cries himself to sleep method is simply not an option for me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Healthy Home-Lessons for Marriage Health

I don’t have a guest with a Healthy Home post for you this month, so I thought I’d do one.  One thing I have a healthy home, you must have a healthy marriage.  Too many times we put everything else first.  We focus on the kids, we focus on our careers, we focus on our bills, and we leave our marriages in the dust.  Why do you think the divorce rate is so high?  We forget to put the work in.  We forget to do the time.

I am no expert, and Brandon and I certainly don’t have a perfect marriage.  But, I do feel like I’ve learned a few things along the way.  I thought I would share some simple tips that I’ve learned to help keep my marriage healthier (I wish I was better at following through with all of these).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Stubbornness and Walking

This week has been a crazy one.  I have 2 thoughts for you, today.

  1. How on earth can a one-year-old be so dang stubborn?!  We have been having night time issues for some time, now (more on this later), and I've started a new method.  Last night was the first night I didn't cuddle Baby to sleep.  I watched a snippet of Supernanny and her technique called Sleep Separation, a fall asleep method meant for younger children.  You lay them down and sit next to their bed, looking straight ahead, to keep from making eye contact.  When they get up, you lay them back down and tell them it's bed time.  Eventually, you just lay them down, without saying a word.  And you do it over and over until he falls asleep.  My son didn't cry, which made it easier emotionally, but he is so persistent.  It took the child on the show 25 minutes.  Mine?  An hour and a half.  Let's hope you know what you're talking about, Jo Jo.
  2. My son started walking!  I can't believe it.  Aside from his spontaneous hugs and kisses, it's the cutest thing in the world.  I tried to get a video for you, but I can't seem to get a good one.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Minimize: Wasted Food

Here we are in March, and I am full swing into my food minimizing.  Did you see this study a couple months ago about wasted food?!  While it’s not super surprising that we waste so much, it is super disgusting… and sad.  I don’t even know how to put into words what I think.  I know I can't send my rotting food to someone who is starving, but….why?  Why do we do this?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Motherhood Monday-Smarty Pants

My little guy is getting so smart.  He knows where his nose is.  He can do 2 signs ("more" and "all done").  He can say, "Hi," "Daddy," "Kitty," and "Thank you" (I think).  He knows there are fish on our ceiling, and in the past few days, he's learned to drink out of a straw!  I'm one proud Mommy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Minimalsim:February Wrap-Up and March Goals


Focus Area: Baby's Room

I sorted through Baby's new things from his birthday and put them into the toy rotation (after letting him play with them all for a couple of weeks).  I also cleaned out and organized his closet.  I reorganized his dresser to fit his new, big boy clothes in the drawers.  And, I put his "baby" clothes away for a someday little brother.