Progress Report - 1 Month

Yesterday we met up with our pedetrician to see how the Chunky Monkey is fairing.
Monkey toes!!!
With exception to a small lump on the side of the little guy's neck - the doctor believes this isn't something to worry about and we're checking with a specialist soon - all is well in his world.

At 22.5 inches long and 10 pounds 8 ounces, the big guy is in the 90th percentile and the size of a two month old!
Milk coma! Look at those long skinny legs :)


Breakfast/Brunch Egg Bake

With Grandma D back in town to visit I couldn't help but put her to work in the kitchen.

Scott and I generally don't do anything fancy for breakfast, a bowl of cereal is just fine by us. However, my mom can put together a mean egg bake. And, when she's willing to make it we're just as willing to eat it!

This dish is prepared the day/night before being served. If you're searching for a great breakfast to serve over night guests give this one a try!!

Breakfast/Brunch Egg Bake
1 loaf English Muffin bread (this stuff can be pretty hard to come by; if you can't find it use sour dough bread made by your local grocers bakery)
4 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Swiss (if you can't find shredded Swiss use thinly sliced)
Turkey (or ham) luncheon meat
8 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 -1 cup crushed corn flakes (frosted flakes are also perfectly acceptable, and just so happen to taste amazing on this bake!)
1/4 cup melted butter
Lightly butter a 9x13 pan.
Butter bread on one side. Line pan with bread, buttered side up.
Top bread with meat (use two layers of meat if the meat is thinly sliced).
Sprinkle a good amount of cheese a top the meat.
Place another layer of buttered bread, butter side up, on cheese.
Mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper and mustard in a large bowl.
Pour egg mixture over entire pan.
Let stand in refrigerator overnight.
Before baking, preheat oven to 350.
Mix melted butter together with crushed corn flakes.
Sprinkle cornflake mix on top of bread.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove bake from oven and let stand for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Because there were only three hungry mouths to devour this dish the recipe was cut in half using a 9x9 pan and baked for 35 minutes.

Source: Linda Niles :)


DIY Numbered Onesies

Before the Chunky Monkey was born I knew I planned to follow/document him and his growth each month until his first birthday. I've seen progress pictures of kiddos in numbered onesies and I wanted to recreate that look. But, where to find those numbered onesies?... Make them of course!

Thank goodness Grandma D is visiting again. She and I put our crafting/sewing skills together and found a DIY from who other than Martha Stewart.

Let the fun begin!

What you will need:
At least three sheets of transfer paper
A quality printer, with plenty of ink
1-4 month template
5-8 month template
9-12 month template
3 - 0 to 3 month onesies
3 - 3 to 6 month onesies
3 - 6 to 9 month onesies
3 - 9 to 12 month onesies
Cheese cloth
A hot iron
A pair of scissors
Top photo: Transfer paper for applying to light fabrics.
Bottom photo: Desired designs printed off on transfer paper. Naturally, the designs will print backward. Once applied to the fabric they will appear in correct form.
Note: Be sure you have enough ink in your printer or you will end up with some funky looking designs. Whoops :)
Upper left: Design cut from transfer paper; a small edge is left around the design for easy removal.
Upper right: Cheese cloth ready for the application.
Lower left: Design placed in desired position - for onesies, near the neck line is best for optimum exposure in photos.
Lower right: Cheese cloth placed over the design.
Top photo: Using an iron emptied of all water, place iron on highest heat setting. For 15 seconds apply hot iron to the design with fattest end of iron covering the design. Move iron around design for those 15 seconds. After 15 seconds is up turn iron to face opposite direction. Again, keep fattest end of iron on the design. Note: you will want a very sturdy, hard surface to apply the design. Be sure when applying you press down on the iron as hard as possible.
Bottom photo: After the full 30 seconds of iron applied to design immediately remove iron and cheese cloth. Quickly remove backing from design. Stretch the fabric with the applied design a bit.

(If my directions leave you a bit baffled be sure to head over to marthastewart.com and check out the quick tutorial on this project.)
The finished product! 

If you'd like to see my monkey sporting his one month onesie check him out here.

Wouldn't these make for a fabulous baby shower gift?!


One Month Old!

Fastest month I've ever experienced. Ever.

The little charmer is my everything. So often I'll find myself just staring at him, I just can't seem to take my eyes off the little chunky monkey.
Top left: Such a silly monkey!
Top right: BIIIIIIG yawn - not too into this photo shoot.
Lower left: Good buddies.
Lower right: Are we done? I'm exhausted.
What I've learned in the past month:
1) Two ounces of milk is simply not enough for this growing boy. And by golly, if I don't have at least three ounces to feed him we hear about it from him, LOUD AND CLEAR!
2) Flatulence in church is perfectly acceptable.
3) Car rides are hypnotic, and a sure bet to the Land of Nod.
4) It seems dirty diapers aren't an issue. Now, those pesky wet diapers are a different story - those need to be changed NOW!
5) There are several animal sounds that omit from the little dude - screeching monkey indicates we're hungry, billy goat means we're working on an extra special surprise in the diaper, and whimpering puppy means either we've lost the pacifier or we're in need of a good burp.
6) Grandma D and Scott are sure the little dude can smile... This kid is gas-y, therefore, I'm not convinced.
7) Who knew Mommy and Daddy would be so excited for three straight hours of sleep??
8) Speaking of sleep, it's amazing how fast the little monkey can go from wide awake to zonked out. It's a matter of seconds. I wish I had the ability to fall asleep that fast.
9) Bath time isn't AS bad as it had been before. Diaper changings are still traumatic.
10) Leg and foot massages are fabulous and calming. I sure hope Marcus doesn't expect to get these massages as he gets older. This mommy can only handle baby feet, all other feet are g.r.o.s.s.
11) Tracking brightly colored objects and watching Mommy and Daddy make funny faces are some of our favorite "games."
12) When lying on the floor, or even being burped, Marcus works so hard to lift his little head up.
13) Our last trip to the pediatrician had Marcus weighing 9 pounds 5 ounces - back up, and OVER birth weight - YAY! I think it's a safe bet that the little dude is at least 10 pounds by now.
13) It's simply amazing how my heart bursts with love for this little man.
Upper left: We had LOTS of crying during our photo session.
Upper right: Pleading for the pictures to stop.
Lower left: Bribes with milk to hang in there while I snapped away.
Lower right: "Seriously, mom? I'm soooo over this."


Marcus' Birth Story

I was hooked up to all the necessary monitors, my doctor had checked in with me, my nurses were amazing at doing whatever they could to keep me and my very pregnant self comfortable, and my husband was by my side. We were about to become parents.

A doctor came in to administer my epidural. After what seemed like a lifetime of poking around in my back I kept telling the doctor I could feel an electric-like sensation on each side of my spine when ever she did whatever it was she was doing... Something told me this wasn't normal, but I shrugged it off.

Around 9:00AM I was wheeled to the OR. My doctor started prepping me and Scott still wasn't in the room. I started to panic, I couldn't do this without him. Frantically asked if he could come in. On cue, in walked Scott and he took his seat next to my head.

"Alright people, we need to do this now. Like NOW!" My doctor's voice had a sense of urgency I'd never noticed before. The anaesthesiologist was working on administering my spinal block, and my doctor wasn't waiting any longer.

That's when I felt it. All of it. A hot burning sensation as the incision was being made. I could no longer take it, I shouted out to my doctor "I can feel that!" I must have repeated myself several times. As my doctor was delivering my sweet baby boy I was feeling everything. Where was my spinal block? Why was this so painful? Then I begged my doctor to stop... She couldn't.

The room went silent. That's when we heard it, the sweetest little cry. It was the purest, most amazing sound I'd ever heard. He was here.

Marcus was introduced to me just shortly after 10:00AM on March 23, 2012. I laid eyes on him and it was love at first sight. He was healthy and perfect and I couldn't wait to get him into my arms.

In recovery my doctor visited me. It was apparent my epidural wasn't administered correctly, which is why my spinal block didn't kick in until after Marcus was born. The doctor also informed us that Marcus' heart rate had dropped dangerously low prior to his delivery, and that's why my doctor couldn't wait for the spinal to kick in, and why I felt more than any of us anticipated.

Finally I had him in my arms. My perfect, beautiful, precious little boy. The pain seemed to vaporise.
I'd do it again for him in a heart beat. He is worth every second of any pain or discomfort I'd felt.
He'd stolen my heart. 


Lemon Bars

My neighbors rock. Have I mentioned that before? If not, I certainly should have long ago.

A few days ago my neighbor brought me a grocery bag chuck full of fresh lemons from one of her family members lemon tree.

Now, what to do with all these lemons??? (Be fully prepared for SEVERAL lemon-y recipes in the very near future:)

I scoured for some enticing lemony treats and came up with a few...

As I've mentioned in several posts, I'm not much of a baker. With so many fabulous lemon-y treats out there I figured I've flex my very elementary baking muscles.

These bars were simple. To say the least. But, hey, gotta start somewhere, right? And, a general consensus between Grandma D (she's visiting again:), a friend of mine, and me (Scott isn't a lemon fan, therefore his vote doesn't count) these were pretty much yummy.

Lemon Bars 
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together with a pastry blender until it resembles small crumbs. Press into a 9x9 pan.
Bake for 15 minutes.

2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp lemon juice (I used 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients together and pour over the baked crust.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove bars from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar and any remaining zest.
Note: If using a dark pan lower the heat and reduce the baking time.
Easy peas-y, lemon squeeze-y.
Make these. They're too easy NOT to!

Source: Slightly adapted from Make It From Scratch


Slow Cooker Herbed Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole - A Freezer Meal

This one didn't quite come out like I expected. However, it was good! I will be making it again, in it's "incorrect" form. :)

I was expecting something more casserole-y. This ended up more soupy. Both Scott and I were ok with the soup. Scott commented how "this would be a great meal in Kansas, on a cold day." And, we both noted how filling one bowl was. Plus, the leftovers were pretty scrumptious, maybe even better than the first go-around.

Slow Cooker Herbed Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole (Soup)  

1 turkey breast tenderloin, sliced approximately 1" thick
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup carrots chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
28 oz chicken broth (if you're going for a casserole instead of soup try cutting the amount of broth in half)
1/4 tsp Marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 cup sour cream (label and set aside!)
2 gallon size zip locks
1 sandwich size zip lock

In a gallon zip lock bag place turkey breast, celery, carrots and onion.
In a separate gallon zip lock bag place chicken broth, marjoram, salt and pepper.
In sandwich size zip lock place wild rice.
Be sure to label and save sour cream for future use.

To make meal:
Thaw all contents.
Place broth, turkey, and rice in crock pot, on low for 8 hours, or until rice becomes tender and liquid is absorbed.
Stir in sour cream.

This one was good, so good we ate it, all, before I could snap a blog-worthy photo. Many apologies. I know how crucial visuals are. But, please take my word, this is some good stuff!!

Source: Betty Crocker


Taco Soup - A Freezer Meal

Before we'd put a spoon to our mouths Scott said, "I haven't even had any of this and I know I'm going to like it." A winner before we'd even eaten it - yesssss!

This soup reminded me more of a chili. It was thick, and hearty, and not really "soupy" at all. I'm quite certain this is one of the reasons Scott enjoyed it so much... It was so much like the way he appreciates his chili.

Never mind it wasn't what I'd consider soup, it was good. And, I will be making it again (and I will probably skip the freezing step and make it right away)!

Taco Soup

1 lb ground turkey
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet dry Ranch dressing
1 small onion, chopped
1 - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Brown ground turkey in a large skillet.
Drain fat off turkey, if necessary.
Add all other ingredients with turkey into skillet.
Simmer 1-2 hours.
Allow soup to cool. Freeze.
Set cheddar cheese aside for future use (optional step).

To prep from frozen state:
Thaw soup.
Place in large pot, bring to boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese (optional).
Serve with tortilla chips or tortillas.
This makes enough to feed about 6 hungry mouths. We had left overs... once :)

Source: Dreaming of Poultry



Three Weeks Old!

Three weeks ago our little prince entered our lives. I couldn't imagine a day, a minute, a second without him.
Marcus - 3 weeks - It's crazy how different he looks in each photo, and they were taken within seconds of each other.
We're currently battling a clogged tear duct. Can you tell which eye is affected? 
In the past three weeks here is what I've learned with the little man in our lives:
Not REALLY drinking...
Just comforted by the bottle.
1) Our discussions more often than not revolve around ounces consumed, as well as color and consistency at diaper changes.
2) A bottle of milk is the solve-all to about everything - this doesn't mean milk is actually consumed, just so long as that nipple is in the mouth all is well in the world.
3) Dirty/wet diapers apparently are not bothersome...
4) Dirtying/wetting a freshly changed diaper must provide some sort of inside joke that I'm not privy to.
5) With that being said regarding #3 and #4, diaper changes and bath time are incredibly traumatic events.
6) Sleeping during the day and staying up all night seem to be a perfectly acceptable schedule (if this kid keeps up these sleep habits he should have no problem adjusting to college life).
7) Preforming all tasks one-handed is the new norm.
8) Showering before noon is an unattainable goal.
9) The pedetricians, and office staff, already know us by name (I'm new to all this, I have a million questions, and I'd rather be safe than sorry).
Checking himself out.
10) Just when I'm about to sit down to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner, that's about the time Prince Charming decides to wake up - wailing.
11) Mirrors leave us in awe.
12) All those little coos and tiny noises are simply heart-melting. And, those little grunts that coinside with a beat-red face are fabulous warnings for what we'll be dealing with in the diaper...
13) All of the aforementioned are worth it, and life is better than good. :)


Tater Tot Casserole - A Freezer Meal

Another freezer meal!

This one is your traditional tater tot casserole. There's nothing too wild or crazy about this. It's just hearty. And good. A total comfort food, which is perfect for the cool weather we've experienced the past few days.

Make this one and freeze it. Or just pop it in the oven when you're done prepping it. Either way, this casserole will leave you smiling and full.

Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb ground turkey (use beef if you so desire)
1 small onion, chopped
1 - 14.5 oz can Cream of Chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
8 oz sour cream
1 - 16 oz package frozen mixed veggies
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used the 2% reduced fat)
1 medium package Tater Tots
1 9x13 foil pan

Prep: Brown turkey (or beef) and onion.
In a bowl mix soup, milk, and sour cream.
In 9x13 pan layer ingredients evenly as follows: turkey/onions, frozen veggies (break up any clumps), soup mixture, cheddar cheese, tater tots.
Freeze (or immediately bake).

Meal prep: Thaw.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake, uncovered at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until tater tots are brown and casserole is bubbly.


Happy Marcus Monday!

As promised earlier, another Marcus montage :)
This time the photos were taken at an actual portrait studio. If you'd like to hear more about our photography session click here...

Enjoy our little chub monkey!


From Our Little Bunny

From our own little Easter Bunny...
Upper left: SO glad to be out of that vest!
Upper right: Not enjoying our little photo session.
Lower left: Home from church - fist pump for Jesus!
Lower right: Our lil' bunny all tuckered out.
"The key to Heaven was hung on the cross." ~Unknown

We hope you had wonderfully blessed Easter!!


Two Weeks Old

Yesterday we had our second check up with the pediatrician. Marcus lost 11% of his weight after birth and the doctor wanted to make sure the little dude was gaining and growing on schedule. Good news! He sure is.

Our chunky monkey is up to 8 pounds 14 ounces, 21 inches long. Not too much longer and he'll be back up to his birth weight (9 pounds 3 ounces).

Here's our little man at two weeks. Another montage is sure to be coming soon...
Marcus - Two weeks old
Those chubby cheeks get me every time! :)


Chicken Enchiladas - A Freezer Meal

Did I mention in my Chicken and Wild Rice Soup post how thankful I am that I prepared freezer meals before Marcus arrived?!?

A few nights ago I received a text from the hubs asking what was for dinner... We went into our usual dialogue: "What sounds good to you?" "I don't care. What sounds good to you?" It goes on like this for a bit, and then Mexican is suggested. Freezer meal to the rescue!

While prepping the 10 Freezer Meals this particular dish was one that I couldn't wait to try. And, yum-o it was!

Chicken Enchilada
1.5 cups Cooked, shredded chicken 
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup onion, chipped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 10.5 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup sour cream
1 4.5 oz can green chilies
1/5 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1/4 cup milk
10 tortillas
1 9x13 foil pan
To prep: In a medium sauce pan, saute onion, garlic, and butter. 
Add soup, 1/2 cup sour cream, and green chilies to onion/garlic/butter.
Mix well.
Reserve 3/4 cup sauce and set aside.
To remaining sauce, add chicken and 1/2 cup cheese. 
In a small bowl, combine reserved sauce with remaining sour cream and milk. Mix well.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of the foil pan.
Place 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla and roll.
Place tortilla seam side down in foil pan.
Spoon remaining sauce over filled tortillas, covering completely.
** Be sure to set aside and label one cup of Mexican cheese for this dish. 

To prep meal: Thaw. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with one cup of Mexican cheese. Return to oven until cheese melts. 
Serve. Enjoy!


A Marcus Montage

I can't help it. A million photos have been taken of Marcus, and he's not even two weeks old, but I can't stop clicking away. Between Grandma D and me I'm not sure who has taken more pictures of the little man...
I think ALL of his pictures are cute, but here are a few that I found montage-worthy.


Cinnamon Roll Cake

Move over donuts and danishes, this ooey, gooey, cinnamon-y dish has you whooped... 
Grandma Dudding is in town and is making a cameo on the Monologues. With Grandma in town we've been receiving all sorts of help adjusting to life with a little one. With that being said, I've taken advantage of her culinary skills. 
 Last week she made this cinnamon roll cake, not once, but twice. We obviously enjoyed it. A lot. 

After the second pan of this stuff disappeared I naturally asked Grandma to whip up a third. Confession: my only contribution to this dish was making it vanish... :)

Cinnamon Roll Cake

3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. (Grandma D used a Pampered Chef dish, didn't grease it, and it was marvelous.)

The cake: In an electric or stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk eggs and vanilla. Once combined well slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9x13 baking pan.

For topping: In a large bowl mix the 2 sticks of butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy. Drop evenly over the batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.

For glaze: In  medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle evenly over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Oh goodness this is so good. You need to make this. You really do. Your mouth will thank you.


Chicken and Wild Rice Soup - A Freezer Meal

Before Marcus' arrival I took it upon myself to make a slew of freezer meals so neither Scott nor myself would really have to worry about cooking once we brought our little dude home. Greatest. Idea. Ever. Right now, between the help of my parents, and the freezer meals, Scott and I haven't had to think about dinner -- or who's going to make it. 

Prepping all the meals was fine and dandy, but now the real fun begins... Eating them! 

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Cooked, shredded chicken      2 cups
Butter                                      4 Tbsp
Onion, chopped                      1 cup
Long grain and wild rice        1 box
Carrots, chopped                    1 cup
Celery, chopped                     1 cup
Flour                                      1/4 cup
Half and half                          1 pint
1 gallon freezer bag

Prep: Cook rice according to package directions. Melt butter in a large pot, add onions and saute.
Add all other ingredients to pot, except flour and half and half. 
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Cook and freeze.

Meal prep: To serve, thaw and add to large sauce pan. 
Bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Just before serving whisk together flour and half and half.
Add to soup and heat through until thickened.
* Be sure to set aside and label flour and half and half for this meal!

Instead of thawing and placing the soup in a sauce pan I just threw the frozen soup into he crock pot, set to low, for about 7 hours.
After the seven hours I added the whisked flour and half and half.
The flour/half and half mix was then poured into the crock pot and stirred. I then left the soup to cook for another half hour, on low.

Talk about a hearty meal that will easily serve eight!

Source: Dreaming of Poultry