About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Target this week

I haven't had a good Target shopping trip in a long time. Being back and forth from the cities so much, I haven't had a lot of time for cutting coupons and spending time looking for deals.

Stride iD gum, single packs $1.29
-buy one get one free coupon up to $1.79
Final price: $0.40 each (the coupon rang up at the full value of $1.79)

Archer Farms almonds, sale price $5.00
-$1.50/2 Target printable coupon
Final price: $4.25 each

Old El Paso taco seasoning, sale price $0.75
-$0.60/3 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $0.55 each

Market Pantry pasta, sale price $1.00
Market Pantry pasta sauce, $1.39
-$1/2 when you buy both Target printable
Final price: $0.70 each

Crisco canola oil, $4.34
-$1/1 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $3.34

Carnation evaporated milk, $1.09 each
-$0.50/2 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $0.84 each

Apples, 3lb bag, sale price $3
No coupon needed
(I bought extra to freeze for apple crisp and apple pie)

International Delight coffee creamer, $3.49
-$0.55 manufacturer's coupon
-$0.75 Target printable coupon
Final price: $2.19

Dove body wash, sale price $5.04
-$1.00 Target coupon
-$2.00 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $2.04

Crest toothpaste, sale price $2.50
-$1.00 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $1.50

Pantene shampoo and conditioner, $5.54 each
-buy one get one free coupon up to $6.99
Final price: $2.05 each (the coupon rang up at the full value of $6.99)

Bertolli pasta sauce, $1.14
-$1.50/2 Target printable coupon
Final price: $0.39 each

Huggies size 1 diapers, 40 ct, sale price $9.39
Huggies wipes, 56 ct, $2.09
-$0.40 Huggies wipes manufactuer coupon
-$1.00 Huggies diapers coupon
-$2.00 Target coupon (when you buy both)
Final price: $8.08 for both

Tide, 64 load size, sale price $11.99
Charmin toilet paper, sale price $12.99
-$1.00 Tide manufacturer's coupon
-$1.00 Charmin manufacturer's coupon
-$5.00 gift card when you buy both
Final price: $8.99 each

Pampers diapers, $34 each, buy two
-$1 manufacturer's coupon
-$10 gift card when you buy two
Final price: $28.50 each
I bought a box of size ones (180 ct) which comes to $0.16 per diaper and a box of size fours (132 ct) which comes to $0.22 per diaper.

Monday, October 1, 2012

a geography lesson

I generally feel like I have a pretty good grasp of geography. Or not bad, at least.

Today at work I was doing foreign currency risk for a report, which involves looking at the investments of an entity in different countries. So I sat there mumbling to myself things like "Austria...Japan...Netherlands...South Africa..."

And then I came across it: The Sultanate of Oman.

What the heck country is that?

I had to google the answer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Natalie: Twelve Months

Vital Stats

Natalie is 21 pounds and is 30 1/2 inches tall. She was in the 95th percentile for height and the 65th for weight at her 12-month checkup. She still wears 12-month clothes (and the occasional 9-month!) but she does have one pair of 18-month pajamas that fit her.

Milestones This Month

Natalie knows how to clap her hands and wave goodbye. She tries to run sometimes, but mostly it just looks like she walks very quickly. She has started trying to climb things.


Occasionally Natalie takes only one nap a day. On daycare days she gets up early and still needs two naps.


Cow's milk is on the menu! Natalie drinks cold cow's milk for lunch and supper, and has a morning and evening bottle. Mommy is very excited about cow's milk! Natalie did a great job making the transition - no warming milk or mixing it with formula for her.

Natalie still loves chicken fettucine, bananas, and blueberries. Recently she has tried oranges and chili. She also likes hot dogs, especially over the campfire. She has rediscovered applesauce, and it is GOOD!

One day Mommy gave Natalie a spoon during breakfast, and she had fun dipping it in her yogurt and putting it in her mouth all by herself. What a big girl!


Natalie understands a lot of new words. Some of her new words: Elmo, stroller, outside, shoes, ball, princess tent. We are working on understanding pointing and she is starting to get it.
Natalie knows the sign for milk and will make it every once in a while, but only when she already sees her milk. Mommy is working on teaching her signs for "all done" and "more."

Natalie babbles "mamamama" and "dadadada." She will shorten "mamamamama" to just "mama" sometimes, but Mommy and Daddy don't know yet if she realizes what she's saying, or if she just thinks it's fun to repeat other people.

Play Time

Natalie still likes to play with her baby doll and especially likes to push her around in her stroller. She also likes to play with her Elmo doll. She has a Sesame Street sing a long movie which she loves to watch. She likes to dance to the music. At Grandma's house Natalie has a kitchen set that she likes to play with. Mostly she likes to climb up on the chairs and sit at the table.

Playing outside is still an all-time favorite. Natalie would definitely rather be outside than in. She loves to go on walks, kick her soccer ball, and play in the sand.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Natalie: Eleven Months

Vital Stats

Natalie is almost 22 pounds and is getting very tall! She hasn’t been weight or measured since her 9-month checkup. Eighteen-month clothes are definitely still too big for her, so she still wears 12-month.

Milestones This Month

Natalie has reached many of the early physical milestones already. Sometimes it looks like she is trying to run, but Mommy thinks she is just walking really fast to get what she wants. Natalie is working on learning to clap her hands, since that is something she can't do yet. She likes to hold Mommy's hands while Mommy claps.


Not much has changed with Natalie's sleeping habits in the last month, except that she likes to wake up at six in the morning occasionally; sometimes even earlier!


Natalie loves chicken and cheese quesidillas, ALL fruit, mac 'n cheese, hotdogs, and Nutrigrain bars. She does not like potatoes, pancakes, or burger. Pretty soon Natalie will start drinking cow's milk. Mommy is looking forward to it!


Natalie understands a couple phrases, like "Where's baby doll?" and "Are you hungry?" For  while Mommy and Daddy thought she was trying to say the word "no" which sounded like "nanana" and which she frequently said when being put down for naps. She hasn't said it for a while now, so it was maybe just a phase.

She is very good at throwing fits when she doesn't get her way. She just plops her butt right down on the floor and cries. She knows the word "milk" and also the sign for it, and will start giggling with excitement whenever she sees or hears one or the other. She recognizes the noise her bottle warmer makes when it's done warming her bottle and will come running looking for it.

Play Time

Natalie's new favorite toy is her baby doll. It is second only to Teddy. She loves, loves, LOVES to play outside. It is absolutely her favorite thing to do. She also enjoys riding in her bike carrier on bike rides. Natalie likes to kick balls and put toys in and out of baskets. She has a kid song CD she started listening to in the vehicle. She laughs whenever she hears the first notes of the first song on the CD.

Natalie likes to watch other kids and puppies. She loves to swing and go down slides. She has also started to really like playing in the sand and swimming in the lake. She doesn't mind going under (which happens occasionally when she falls). Mommy and Daddy think it's good practice for her, so they make a habit of dunking her once every time she goes swimming. She's such a little trooper; she comes up with a surprised face, wipes the water out of her eyes, and keeps on going.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Natalie: Ten Months

Vital Stats

Natalie is over 20 pounds and is getting very tall! She hasn’t been weight or measured since her 9-month checkup. She still is in 9-12 month clothing. Her pj’s are only 12-month now; those 9-month are too short!

Milestones This Month

Natalie walks! She started walking two weeks ago and hasn’t stopped. She doesn’t crawl. Ever. She loves to practice walking, although she falls down quite a bit. She’s such a trooper; just hops back up and keeps on going. Since she has started wearing shoes, she likes to walk outside in the lawn. There is so much room to move around!

Natalie likes to stomp her feet. She thinks it’s very funny when Mommy or Daddy come up to her and stomp their feet, saying “Stomp, stomp, stomp!” She tries to stomp her feet as well but walking in place very quickly. Sometimes she falls over, but always with a smile on her face.


Natalie is a sleeping champ. She takes good naps and sleeps great at night. Her morning naps can be shorter on occasion, and sometimes she takes a longer afternoon nap. Before too many more months go by she will be heading towards one nap a day. Mommy can’t decide whether she’s happy or sad about that…


Who needs baby food?! Natalie rarely eats baby purees anymore; she mostly eats finger foods. She loves all her snack foods, especially Goldfish and fruit. Some of her favorite meals are chicken fettucine alfredo and Perkins chicken crunch breadbowl salad. She loves her carbs! Natalie has tried ice cream twice. Both times she has cried with Mommy/Daddy refused to give her anymore. We have a little sweet tooth!

Natalie can drink out of any glass with a straw, which is great when she goes out to eat.


Natalie clearly understands the word “no” and has occasionally obeyed, which makes Mommy very happy. She has finally started babbling, and says “mamamama,” “dadadadada,” and “bababababa.” Mommy keeps trying to get her to say “mama” but so far it’s a no-go.

Play Time

Now that Natalie walks her favorite thing to do is get into everything. She prefers kitchen cabinets over her toys and Mommy’s magazines over her own books. She likes to pull the toilet paper off the roll. She loves to rip up paper products and put them in her mouth.
Outside is still a favorite; she always has the biggest smile on her face when she’s out and about. She loves to walk around in the yard at Grandpa and Grandma’s. Daddy said she was kicking a soccer ball around yesterday.

Natalie still enjoys games like "patty cake" and "the bumblebee." She understands when Mommy starts that the bumblebee will tickle her in the end, and starts smiling even before it gets her.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Starting and Maintaining an Emergency Fund

If you know me in real life, you know I'm very involved in tracking the money we spend, moving funds around, and maintaining seven different bank accounts.

No joke. Seven. Plus a CD.

Having so many accounts helps me separate and track money used for different purposes. One of our savings accounts is our "emergency fund."

I think an emergency fund is one of the most brilliant idea ever concocted. Funds go in and DO NOT GET TOUCHED, except in the case of an emergency, obviously.

Now, "emergency" can mean different things to different people. For some, it may mean "replacing the water heater" or "medical bills" or "my husband lost his job and I need to buy groceries."

For me, emergency means "I have NOTHING left." That is when I will dip into our emergency fund.

Popular recommendations are to have enough money in an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of typical living expenses. That's a lot.

Not everyone has $10,000 sitting around they can just stick into a savings account and never touch. I don't. So here's what I do: I set up automatic deposits on a monthly basis, where my bank transfers $100 on the first Monday of each month from our checking account to our emergency fund savings account. That's it. That extra $100 a month adds up over time. I started this about the time we got married and right now we have enough in our emergency fund to cover two months of living expenses, easily. Three months if we were tight with it, which we would be, since it would be all the money we had left to our name.

Setting up and maintaining an emergency fund takes time and patience. Making monthly deposits is, for me, easier than throwing a big chunk of change in there and knowing I can't touch in. Somehow, I just don't miss $100 a month. The trick is to not dip into the account when you want to buy something fun. Since we started our emergency fund, we have never made a withdrawal, and our balance is slowly, but surely, climbing.

My goal is to have enough money in our emergency fund to cover six months of living expenses, easily. At that point I will stop depositing money and the funds will sit there, until such a time they need to be used. Hopefully never. Then when we die our children can inherit them.

So, if you don't have an emergency fund, there's no time like the present to begin!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Natalie: Nine Months

Vital Stats
Natalie is 19.5 pounds and 28.75 inches long. She still is in 9-12 month clothing, although she has worn 18-month on occasion!

Milestones This Month
Natalie is the queen of cruising. She will walk around furniture like nobody’s business. In the last week she has started trying to walk. Her record so far is seven steps. She thinks it’s funny to collide into people when she falls down while trying to walk. And of course she loves the applause she gets! So far Mommy hasn't been able to get a video, because Natalie seems to think it's funny to sit and stare at the camera instead of walking to Mommy.

Natalie sleeps later at home, where it’s darker, than she does when we’re visiting family. We had a couple earlier mornings last weekend while she had a little cold, but we are back to normal now. She still sleeps about the same; naps are maybe slightly shorter. Teddy is still Natalie’s favorite lovey. Mommy tried to sub another animal the other night while teddy was drying after being washed, but she would have none of it!

Natalie still loves, loves, loves finger foods. She gets very excited when she sees Cheerios. She has a Cheerio snack time book (to play with Cheerios while eating) and sometimes tries to grab the pictures of the Cheerios on the book. She tried yogurt the other day and it was a big hit. She also likes her “cheesy poofs” (essentially baby puffy Cheetos). Natalie has started begging Mommy and Daddy when they are eating.

Natalie has mastered drinking out of a straw sippy cup, but is still working on regular sippy cups. She doesn’t understand that she has to tip the cup back.

Natalie is better at understanding Mommy and Daddy. Phrases she can comprehend are “Come to Mommy/Daddy,” “Mommy/Daddy is going to get you,” “Where’s Teddy?” “No,” “Do you want some milk?” and “It’s bath time.” Mommy can’t tell if she understands “outside” yet, but she sure loves to go out there!

Play Time
Natalie still likes to read her books. She loves to just sit and turn the pages. She pays attention pretty well when Mommy or Daddy is reading to her.

Natalie’s new favorite game is a chasing game. She LOVES when Mommy or Daddy chase her around and tickle her. Sometimes she will chase Mommy or Daddy. She also loves to walk with her walking toys.

Another favorite of Natalie’s is to pull all of her clothes out of the drawer. She enjoys it when Mommy leaves her drawers open. She also likes to pull the folded laundry off the couch before it’s put away. Destroying Mommy’s neat piles is fun!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I can tell it's summer. Life is crazy. Crazy busy.

My calendar looks like three different colored pens threw up on it. Every single day has something written on it. My mind goes berserk trying to remember every minute detail.

It's nice to be busy. I can't stand to be bored. I couldn't even tell you the last time I was bored. Definitely not since Natalie has been born. Between her, work, Darren's crazy schedule, and my various commitments, we are one busy, busy family.

I think it would be awesome to have a week off, just to myself. I'm pretty sure I could occupy myself 100% of the time with all the things I want to get done.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why I Love...

...Amazon Prime.

1. I'm impatient. Two-day shipping? Yes, please.
2. I'm cheap. FREE two-day shipping? Where do I sign up?
3. I love movies. Instant access to hundreds of movies, available to stream at no cost to me? Wow, this is a great deal.
4. I love books. One free book to borrow from the amazon electronic library a month = me saving the cost of gas and waste of time it takes to drive to the public library.

Because, yeah, I think about things like that.

Amazon Prime is $79 per year, with your first month free. So far, since signing up, I have placed four orders on Amazon (yes, in like two weeks). I have saved myself almost $30 in shipping. BUT WAIT, you say, I never pay shipping anyway, because I always order the $25 limit which qualifies me for free shipping.

Well, my friend, that was me, too. That was me. But how many items did I spend money on just to reach that magical $25 limit? Too many, dear, too many.

Amazon Prime. Give it a try. It's free for 30 days.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

did you know?

You can view sheet music on an iPad?

A couple weeks ago in church I noticed something. Something so crazy I almost didn't believe it at first.


Unheard of. At least by me.

What happened to turning the pages yourself? And trying to make the book stay open to the appropriate page? And the memorization required and the beginning and end of every page, as you needed all your concentration to turn the page without missing notes? And the not-always-imperceptible slowing of the music as you reached that precarious moment, where your left hand suspended in mid air, while your right carried on the tune?

Am I the only one who suffered terribly with this? Now, with the merest touch of the screen, your iPad will turn the page for you.

Musicians have it so easy these days.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

I couldn't even tell you for sure where this recipe came from. I don't remember.

What I do know is that these muffins are very, very delicious.

You definitely need to have fresh blueberries. These were fresh once, last summer. I love to buy blueberries in the summer when they taste better. And are cheaper. I have two full containers of frozen blueberries in my freezer, just waiting to be used in muffins, pancakes, or a pie.

You will also need flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, oil, milk, an egg, butter, and cinnamon.

Start by combining the following:

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

In a one-cup measuring cup, place 1/3 cup oil. (This will make sense in a moment.)

Crack an egg in the oil. Fill the remainder of the cup with milk.

Mix the egg/milk/oil mixture into the flour mixture, mixing just until blended. Gently fold in the blueberries. Unless you like purple muffins. Then just beat the stink out of them.

Grease or line a muffin tin with paper cups.

Can I just take a moment to give a shout-out to the person who invented paper muffin cups? GENIUS.

Fill them about 2/3 full. This recipe will make 12 muffins.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for...drumroll...the CRUMB TOPPING.

It's what makes the muffin, people.

In a small bowl, mix:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup softened butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Note: I have found that halving this amount provides more than enough topping. But if you're wild and crazy and you love your crumb topping, go ahead and make the whole thing.

If you're like me, you love cinnamon so much you never measure it, and instead just generously sprinkle it into whatever recipe you're making. You also make your daughter a play on apple crisp by mixing cinnamon into her baby apples and oatmeal.

She's not a huge fan. Yet. So you finish it off yourself.

That may or may not have happened in this household.

Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into everything else, until it's nice and crumbly.

Or, if you're too lazy to open the drawer and dig out the pastry blender, a fork works just as well.

 Sprinkle the cinnamon deliciousness onto the muffins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool a while, then remove from pan.

Definition of "a while:" as long as you can stand smelling the blueberry-cinnamon wonder without tasting it. OR, five minutes.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Natalie: Eight Months

Vital Stats
Natalie is 18.8 pounds and 28 inches long. She wears 9- or 12-month clothing. And she has a ton of it!

Milestones This Month
Natalie still crawls like crazy. She crawls especially fast when she’s excited about something or wants to get into something she’s not allowed. She will walk around furniture and behind her push toys. She has stood by herself more, but still has some trouble with balance.

She sleeps less than she did a month ago. Typically Natalie sleeps 11-11.5 hours a night, with about 2.5 hours of naps during the day, down about 1-1.5 hours since this time one month ago. The sunlight wakes her up around 7am each morning. She still loves Teddy, and still does really well going to sleep without crying.

Natalie still eats solids at three meals a day, plus a bottle before bed. She has grown a little bit on peas and green beans, and will eat them with hardly any faces at all. She LOVES her finger foods; puffs are still a favorite, but she also likes Cheerios, cheese chunks, and mixed veggies. Natalie tried Daddy’s pot roast with carrots and potatoes last week. Pot roast is hard to eat, but potatoes and carrots are yummy. Natalie tried a piece of French fry for the first time over the weekend. It was…different. And salty.

She drinks about 4oz of water out of her sippy cup every day. Natalie has tried drinking out of a regular cup like a big girl, but it’s a little difficult still. She has tried prune juice and apple juice. Neither was a huge hit, but maybe Mommy diluted them too much. Natalie enjoys water just fine.

Natalie understands the word “no,” and will get mad when she doesn’t get her own way. She’s fairly dramatic about it, in Mommy’s opinion. Her least favorite thing is putting on pajamas after bath time, and she makes no secret about it. She acts like Mommy and Daddy are killing her every night.

Recently she has started to think Mommy and Daddy are there to entertain her and occupy her 24/7. She is very good at whining to get their attention.

Play Time
In the last week Natalie has enjoyed reading books more, and has tried to eat them less. “Touch-and-feel” books are a lot of fun.

Natalie has a ball popper which she is warming up to. It was a little frightening at first, but the balls are fun to chase around. She loves anything that plays music, and likes to “dance” (bobs up and down, like mini-squats). There is a little piano she likes to play. It also has a spot to turn the music pages, which is one of her favorite things to do. She has rediscovered her jumparoo, and will jump for a while if someone is sitting there with her.

Mommy and Daddy packed up the swing last week, as it was no longer a favorite; it’s way more fun to MOVE!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sandra Boynton

Some of my favorite books to read to Natalie are Sandra Boynton books. We only have two, but my mom also has a couple, so we've read several.

My favorite, though, is Moo, Baa, La La La! I'm pretty sure I could recite the whole thing right now, we've read it so much. It's a cute book.

We also have The Going to Bed Book which we read a lot before Natalie goes to bed (imagine that). I also have this one memorized. The stories are short enough to keep Natalie's attention, and the pictures are simple and colorful enough for her to enjoy looking at. Sandra Boynton is quickly becoming one of my favorite children's authors.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Lesson on Tuna

Who's ready to learn?

One of my magazines had an article on tuna. My magazines sound fascinating, don't they?

When I was a kid, I used to think that "Chicken of the Sea" meant there was actually chicken in the can.

Well, I figured that out eventually, but there was still a lot I didn't know about tuna.

I always thought that when a can said "albacore" it was some different fish. Nope. Albacore is a type of tuna. And there are sevaral types of tuna. Albacore is referred to as "white" tuna. "Light" tuna can refer to skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye, or any combination. (Who knew there were so many kinds?!)

Also, I thought that tuna were little fish. Not necessarily the case.

Albacore tuna.

Skipjack tuna.

Yellowfin tuna.

So I'm pretty sure I learned five different things about tuna yesterday. My magazines are highly educational.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book and Movie Review

Last week when Darren and Natalie were up north I was able to get some reading done. My sister had lent me The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It's a story about Bruno, a young boy living in Germany during WWII.

The book is a quick read - less than three hours - and pretty good. It reads like a children's book, but it's definitely not for children.

There is also a movie, which I watched last weekend. It followed the book pretty well. I won't give anything away, but if you have six hours or so, I recommend both the book and the movie.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Recipe: Peach Mango Salsa

Baja Sol makes a delicious peach-mango salsa. I eat it every time I go there.

Every time.

There has to be a recipe online somewhere, right? There is. Indeed, there is. I found this recipe at Taste of Home. It's a pretty good replica. The fresh ingredients are AMAZING.

Start with a big bowl. Put in 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes.

Add 1/2 cup chopped red onion.

Add 1/2 chopped yellow pepper.

Add 1/2 cup chopped mango.

Add 2 tablespoons chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper (about 1 pepper).

Add 3/4 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches.

(Apparently fresh peaches aren't in season yet - who knew? I used frozen; it turned out fine.)

Add 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro.

Taste and see if it's sweet enough for you. I found this recipe to not be as sweet as Baja Sol's, so next time I will add a little bit of sugar.

Enjoy with tortilla chips. I think it would be tasty with chicken in a salad. Kind of like a play on taco salad.

One thing to note: It takes forever and a day to chop up all those fresh ingredients. It took me over half an hour to make this salsa. But it was so worth it. YUM! A keeper for sure.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Target this week

A couple free items and some other good deals:

Large Eggs, sale $1.19
-$0.55/2 coupon
Final price: $0.92 each

International Delight creamer, $1.84
-$1/2 coupon
Final price: $1.34 each

Philadelphia cream cheese, sale $1.29
No coupon needed

Head & Shoulders shampoo, $7.14
-Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon
Final price: $3.57 each

Herbal Essences travel size shampoo, $0.97
-$1/1 coupon
Final price: Better than free

Chutes & Ladders, sale price $5.00
-$3/1 manufacturer's coupon
-$2/1 Target coupon
Final price: FREE

Candyland, sale price $5.00
-$3/1 manufacturer's coupon
-$2/1 Target coupon
Final price: FREE

Starburst jelly beans, sale price $2.00, buy two
-$1/2 manufacturer's coupon
-$1/2 Target coupon
Final price: $1.00 each

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Recipe: Italian Chicken and Potato Bake

I love this recipe. Easy. Only a couple ingredients. That's my idea of a weeknight dinner.

Start with chicken. However much you want. Throw it in a pan.

Add potatoes. However much you want.

See? Isn't this recipe easy?

Cut the potatoes into wedges and put them in the pan with the chicken.

Add Italian dressing. Again, however much you want. The recipe said 1/2 cup, I believe. I put in way more than that, because it didn't seem like very much.

Toss it around.

Also, for extra flavor you could marinate your chicken in the Italian dressing. I think I will do this next time.

Top with grated parmesan cheese. The recipe called for 1/4 cup...I probably put on three times that much. I love me some cheese.

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Doesn't it just look delicious? Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, covered. Remove cover and bake an additional 15-30 minutes, until chicken is done.

I would like to point out that while it looks burnt, it was just the dressing burning to the pan. The chicken and potatoes were fine. Probably this happened because I forgot to cover it. The second time I made it I remembered and it didn't burn. Not a big deal, but a mess to clean up.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Target this week

I swear we spend half my paycheck at Target. It's ridiculous how much I love that store. Here are some of the bargains we got this week:

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Lantern, $15.19
-Use 50% off select Fisher Price toys printable Target coupon
Final Price: $7.59 (This is one of Natalie's Easter basket toys)

Gerber Nature Select 2nd Foods two-pack, $1.02
-$1/4 Gerber coupon
Final price: $0.77 each

My First Crayola Crayons - Washable, $2.42
-$1/1 Target printable coupon
-$1/1 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $0.42

Carefree pantiliners, $0.99
-$1/1 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: Free

Ludens cough drops, $1.62
-$1/2 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $1.12 each

Coppertone Ultra Guard sunscreen, $7.99
Twin Pack Coppertone Kids Continuous Spray $13.49
-Two $1/1 Target printable coupons
-$1/1 manufacturer's coupon (for the kids spray)
-Get a $5 Target gift card when you buy three Coppertone sunscreen
Final price: $4.49 each

Market Pantry cheese 8oz, sale price $1.89
-$1/2 Target printable
Final price: $1.39

Lysol Dual Action Wipes, $2.49
Submit for rebate here
Final price: Free

Dove Eggs, $3.29
Get a $5 Target gift card mail-in rebate here
Final price: Better than free

Kraft Dressing, $2.09
-$1/2 Target printable
Final price: $1.59 each

Trident single gum packs, $1.32
-Buy one get one free manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $0.66 each

Friday, March 23, 2012

Natalie: Seven Months

My baby girl is seven months old already! Where has the time gone?

Vital Stats
Natalie is 18.3 pounds and 28 inches long. She has started wearing 9-month clothing and it isn't huge on her, by any means. She still fits into most of her 6-month clothes, except for the pajamas.

Milestones This Month
Natalie crawls all over the place like a crazy person; she's quite the proficient little thing. She loves to pull herself up on EVERYTHING. She has started standing without holding on to anything, but can only hold the position for about a second before she falls down. She has learned how to get down, as well. There was about two weeks in there where she could stand up but couldn't get down.

She has started reaching for Mommy and Daddy when she wants to be picked up. She laughs more than she used to, and is ticklish on her tummy and feet.

She is down to two naps a day; morning and afternoon. It can make for long evenings, but she does okay with constant attention. She sleeps 11.5-12 hours at night, and 3 hours of naps during the day. Natalie is still a great sleeper, for the most part. She has started sleeping with a teddy bear, which she loves to snuggle. Most naps and bedtimes she goes to sleep without crying.

Natalie eats solids three times a day at (almost) normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner times; dinner is a little early still. She has a bottle with each meal, and one before bed. She does well with her solids and likes almost everything, although she still isn't a fan of peas or green beans. Some of her new favorites are chicken with apples, turkey with sweet potatoes, and an apple/plum mixture. She hates Mommy's homemade chicken puree, but loves Gerber's.

Finger foods are fun! She loves to feed herself, and especially loves her puffs. We haven't had too much success with banana and avacado; she likes them, but has a hard time picking them up because they are so slippery.

Natalie likes to drink out of her sippy cup like a big girl, even though she's usually soaked by the time it's over.

Natalie recognizes the sign for "milk." She gets very excited whenever she sees it because she knows her bottle is coming. She still likes the "all done" sign but doesn't understand what it means yet.

Natalie is learning the word "no." She probably hears it more than any other word. Sometimes it seems like she understands, sometimes it doesn't. Occasionally she cries because she isn't getting what she wants.

She doesn't say much more than she did last month; still no babbling. There is a fair amount of screeching, though.

Play Time
Natalie's favorite toys are her Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Fun With Friends Musical Table, her plastic squeaky blocks, her Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Love to Play Puppy, and her exersaucer. She also loves everything that's not her toy; i.e., the garbage can, the bookshelf, and the computer.

She loves it when Mommy or Daddy get on the floor and crawl around with her, and she likes to play "chase." She also loves applause, especially directed at her. Natalie still tries to eat books instead of just looking at them, so we don't spend too much time reading. She loves when Mommy or Daddy sings and dances.

Sometimes when Mommy or Daddy need a sanity break, Natalie gets to watch 20 minutes of Elmo's World, which she enjoys.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

photo shoot

We took Natalie to JCPenney portrait studio last Friday to have her pictures taken. She did great. She laughed and smiled for the photographer. She didn't sit still very well, but that's par for the course, so I wasn't expecting much there. She kept trying to get the camera, which she does at home, too. Here's just a quick peek at some of my favorite pictures.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

parking ramp trivia

What is the second largest river in the U.S.?

That was the question hand-written on a piece of paper, taped to the window as I payed to exit the parking garage after work yesterday.

The parking attendant, Kong (seriously, that is what's on his name tag), said, "If you would like, take a look at our trivia question."

The only rivers I could think of were the Mississippi and the St. Croix. And I was pretty darn sure it wasn't the St. Croix. And isn't the Mississippi the largest? I thought while he swiped my debit card, and then had to tell him I had no idea.

"Mississippi," was his answer.

"Really? What's the largest then?" I asked.

"Missouri." Well, huh.

I think I need to study up my U.S. geography. Pretty sure I didn't even know the Missouri river existed.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Natalie: An Update

A lot has already changed since I wrote Natalie's six-month update here. In just a few days, she started pulling to a standing position.

She also started pushing herself up to a sitting position from crawling.

And she figured out how to drink from her sippy cup.

I can't believe how fast she changes!