Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fix and Freeze

Last time I had a baby (four years ago), I ended up having an emergency c-section. Needless to say the "Emergency" part, we were not prepared for the recovery, AT ALL.

This time, I am having a planned C-section (our base does not offer VBACs), so I'm going in this prepared. And that would mean, putting together Fix and Freeze meals; as the husband does not cook but he can thaw and bake!

I have been asked by other Mama-to-bes to post some of the recipes. Since I only like to endorse what I have actually tried, here are some of the dishes I have prepared.

* Every recipe I will rate based on taste, they are out of 5 stars (*****)

Chicken Burritos
Yield: Makes 2 batches (1 dozen per batch)

1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper, optional
1 teaspoon EACH ground cumin and chili powder
1/2 teaspoon EACH garlic powder and salt
1 can (15 oz) chili with beans
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
8 cups cubed cooked chicken (8- 12oz canned)
24 flour tortillas, warmed
6 cups (24 oz) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Salsa, optional

1. In a large skillet, saute the onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth.

2. Bring to a boil; cook and sir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; add the tomatoes, jalapeno pepper if desired and seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in chili and cream cheese until cheese is melted. Stir in chicken (or do what I did, and put chicken in large bowl, stir in sauce).

3. Spoon about 1/2 cupful down the center of each tortilla; Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Colby-Montery Jack cheese. Fold ends and sides over the filling. Wrap in foil or place in 2 greased 13x9 baking dishes.

4. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.


Thaw in the fridge overnight. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until heated.

Serve with salsa if desired.


Mostaccioli Casserole
Yield: Makes 2 casseroles (6 servings each)

1 package (16 oz) mostaccioli (I used rigatoni)
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 1/4 cups chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 can (10 3/4) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, soup, Italian seasoning and pepper.

2. Drain pasta. Add pasta and 1 1/2 cups cheese to beef mixture. Transfer to two greased 11x7 baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese.
* Or do what I did, put pasta in one 9x13 greased dish, pour mixture on top; stir in well. Sprinkle with cheese.

3. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.


Thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.


Enchilada Casserole
Yield: makes 2 casseroles (4-6 servings each)

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup water
2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups salsa, divided
10 flour tortillas (8 in), cut into 3/4-in strips, divided
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
2 cans (15 1/4 each) Whole kernel corn, drained *I only used one can*
4 cups (16 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water, chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

2. Place 1/4 cup salsa each in two greased 8-in square baking dishes. Layer each dish with a fourth of the tortillas and 1/4 cup salsa.

3. Divide the meat mixture, sour cream and corn between the two casseroles. Top with remaining tortillas, salsa and cheese.

4. Cover and freeze casseroles for up to 1 month.


Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through.


Chicken Pot Pies
Yield: 2 Pot Pies (6 servings each)

4 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups frozen cubed has brown potatoes, thawed
1 package (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of onion soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package (15 oz) refrigerated pie pastry

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Divide between two 9-in deep-dish pie plates. Roll out pastry to fit the top of each pie. Place over filling; trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top or make decorative cutouts in pastry.

2. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.


Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking. Cover edges loosely with foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. reduce heat to 350; remove the foil and bake 50-55 minutes longer or until golden brown.


Pesto-Chicken Penne Casserole
Yield: 2 Casseroles (6 servings each)

1 package (16 oz) penne pasta
6 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups (16 oz) shredded Italian cheese blend
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 jar (15 oz) Alfredo sauce
1 jar (10 oz) prepared pesto
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, Alfredo sauce, pesto and milk. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture.

2. Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over the casseroles.

3. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.


Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly.


Turkey Tetrazzini
Yield: 2 casseroles (4 servings each)

1 lb uncooked spaghetti
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cans (10 3/4 oz each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
3 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup sherry or additional chicken broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, saute the mushrooms and onion in oil until tender. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the soup, turkey, broth, sherry, Italian seasoning, pepper and 1 cup cheese. Drain spaghetti; stir into turkey mixture.

3. Transfer to two greased 8-in square baking dishes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.


Thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

12 weeks to go!

Wooohoo, guess who is finally in their third trimester.. yep, this lady right here (*points to myself*). Only 12 more weeks to go, and before you ask, no we STILL haven't agreed to a name, but I have ordered the invites to my shower!

I've also finished, or started, his room! I was way to excited when his bedding came in that I couldn't contain myself. Now to make the decision to buy a crib or wait till we get back to the states (he will 6-7 months old at that point).

Notice the box of clothes. Those are everything I have gotten for him so far! I am stocking up!

*Note: The bassinet was given to us by friends to use while he fits.

Now being in my third trimester means I'm in the last leg of this long haul, but it also means everything is becoming so real! I'm reaching that point where I can't sleep because its too uncomfortable so I'm left to myself to think about all the things that can go wrong.

I really do a number on myself with that way of thinking. It ranges from him having down's syndrome, to being autistic, all the way to still birth. I know most expetenct mothers do go through some sort of fear/anxious about the health for their bundle of joy. I fully blame the books they give us for "guidance" which after reading will make you want to hide in a closet and never come out.

Between the list of things that can harm the child to the list of things we can't do anymore that can harm the child, I'm convinced that they want us to live in a plastic bubble and drink nothing but bottle water and eat bread (much like prison.. bet they get cookie dough though).

But as I feel him kick (and kick, and kick again) I try to put those thoughts to rest. There is nothing I can do but love him and always be there for him, no matter what. I'm also calmed by my sweet girl, when she puts her arms around my tummy and says "Mommy, I love my baby brother"

I know she will be an amazing big sister. She is already protective of him, yes even while he is IN my stomach, and keeps calling him "cute". Hopefully she won't be TOO mean or should I say BOSSY with him!

As you can tell in the previous picture, I have grown quite a bit in the passed couple of weeks. He has finally decided to show himself, even though no one believes me when I say I'm 28 weeks.

Here is what he looks like inside:

And here is what he looks like from the outside:

I can't believe how fast this is all happening. Only 3 more months and we will be holding our baby boy. It's so crazy..

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Coupons, Savings, and such!

So after much debate, I have started (again) using coupons. I know people spend HOURS clipping coupons, but being over here in England, lets just say we don't have any to clip. Instead people send them from the states as our commissary (our grocery store) takes expired coupons (up to 6 months); so I go through GIANT bags of already clipped coupons. Takes forever, a lot are already expired (yes expired from 6 months passed. What, it expires in '09..??) and multiples of the same ones (dog bones, 6 boxes of cereal, ext).

So I've started this blog to see if it is actually worth the hours it takes to go through the bags, sort, and shop.

And so it begins:

July 15: Saved $5.64
July 16: Saved $8.55
July 19: Saved $10.30
July 22: Saved $9.59 (11%)
July 26: Saved $4.25 (11%)
July 30: Saved $13.05 (13%)

Total in Savings of July: $51.38

August 3: Saved $24.75 (22%)
August 5: Saved $5.65 (15%)
August 8: Saved $25.00 (20%)
August 11: Saved $14.25 (16%)

Total in Savings of August: $69.65

Total of Savings: $121.03

Monday, 11 July 2011

So much to update!

So much has gone on since my last blog, here is the updates:

Savannah FINALLY had her four year check-up (yay!). It's only taken me three months to get her in. Anyways, besides from needing three shots (poor baby) she is great. She is in the 35% for weight and 60% for height! She is exactly where she needs to be and her bmi is perfect. Go baby! She did great in the doctor's office and she has to get her shots this week. I've been preparing her for it.

Savannah also has a new friend she hasn't stopped playing with.

Yes that is a little kitten. We found him on 4th of July weekend. He injured his back leg, had no collar, and isn't microchipped. I know, I have a knack for finding lost kitties.

We are still looking for his mommy and daddy and we do not know if we will be keeping him or not. He is a cutie though, but Dora is not to happy with us at the moment.

Also, we now have a new family vehicle! After much debating (fighting) and frustration, we found what we were looking for and it kind of just fell into our laps (don't you love when that happens?!)

It is an '04 Chevy Trail Blazer. We no longer have our beloved Jetta, as we traded her, yes TRADED, for our new SUV which can hold our ever growing family (kitten included). We all love it and are so relieved and happy this transaction came about.

As for the baby; we FINALLY picked his crib bedding. I can't wait to get it in and I'm so happy we agreed on the same bedding set.

It's only fitting that daddy is a crewchief! Here is a better look at the blanket. I'm so in love with this set!

We still haven't picked a name, but we are getting closer. We now only have 3 names left, slowly eliminating them. Here are the three we have left:

  • Kyle Reed
  • Michael Spencer
  • Shane Michael
Kyle is my number one favorite, but I haven't talked the husband in Reed yet. Hopefully we will be there soon!

I also realized today that I have 93 days to go! WOOHOO. I'm starting to look at baby shower stuff and got to get together with my girls and start planning away. I can't believe its getting close to my third trimester.

And lastly for the update, a picture of my ever growing belly. Since I didn't update sooner I have both 26 weeks and 27 weeks view from

26 weeks view (Thank you BabyCenter)

27 weeks view (Thank you BabyCenter)

And then me at 26 Weeks and 5 Days along. Only 93 days to go!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Last day of June- OB appt.

I still can't believe that this is the last day in June. And it was a crazy one (weather wise). But then again this IS England, so I shouldn't be surprised when it goes from beautiful and sunny to down right pouring and thundering.

So Savannah and I loaded up with our rain gear to go pick the husband up from work and go to my 24 week appointment. This was the first appointment that we have taken Savannah to. She doesn't do well in small spaces for a long period of time so for the sake of my blood pressure I usually take her to the sitter.

However this time we could not get a sitter in time, so it was either bring her along or leave her in the car, which I believe I would be arrested for so I rather not go through that, so I decided to take her in. Hey I had someone to help me watch her, her own father!

After waiting for I don't know how long and having to listen to "Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes", oh and also dealing with the dreaded scale the doctor arrives. We were waiting for the result from our last ultrasound.

And the results are...

He is perfect! Well as perfect as a incubating baby can be.

Everything is right on target. His brain, kidneys, stomach, ext. He is measuring a day behind his due date, and he is in the 37% for his weight. And his heartbeat was 155 BPM. Savannah was so excited to hear his heart beating.

We are betting he will be small like Savannah was when she was born. She was a whole 6 lbs 12 oz and 19 ins long.

Awww.. little baby! I can't wait to compare baby pictures! He already kicks like her.

As far as me, the pregnant one. I am right on target as well (Like mother like son?!). I am where I should be with my weight (I would like to be 5lbs less) as I've gained 15lbs so far. My stomach is measuring exactly where it should be. So all good news around, except I have to do the glucose test AGAIN. But that's for another day.

Well, I'm off to go work out. Take care.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Internet, Issues, and Ideas

Hello again!

Sorry I didn't post a 24 week update but we were having internet issues. Actually we've been having a lot of issues but I digress.

Anyways, we made it back from Germany and we got to spend all of Father's day on a bus from Germany back to England.

But we got to be together, well mostly because one of us sat by ourselves. The trip itself was fun but exhausting. We went to bed around midnight every night and was up and ready by 7am every morning.

But nothing compares to when Savannah saw her daddy walk across the stage to graduate. She started yelling at the top of her lungs "HI DADDY... GO DADDY GO DADDY GO DADDY". The whole room broke out in laughter at the excitement of this little girl seeing her daddy.

If you'll notice everyone laughing and looking back at us. Because she just didn't say it once, no. It was over and over followed by a "WOOHOOO YAY". I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, so I'm surprised this picture isn't blurry.

She sure did make a boring graduation very interesting! She had a blast in Germany, we did as well. I am having withdrawals from the food.

But as I was saying we where having internet issues, as well as maintenance issues, hospital issues, and car issues. After waiting around for a week waiting on people to arrive or answer the phone we got the issues resolved and I had a great idea during that week.

One of my ideas was to give Savannah new hair do. Which I think was a great idea if I say so myself.

My other ideas was baby names. Because when your stuck home from 8am-3pm (thank you BT for a short window of waiting time) and your being kicked that is what happens! Here is what our list is so far:

  • David Alexander
  • Michael Spencer
  • Shane Michael
  • Eric Michael
  • Kyle Reed
We, well I am, hoping to narrow it down SOON but we do have our own personal favorites!

Now onto the baby bump update. I have both weeks First we have last week with the help of Savannah (she loves her baby brother already).

And next is today's picture, 25 weeks. I took this right before my awesome work out! Which I have gone to the gym every day this week and last! I am feeling great.

I have my OB appt tomorrow so hopefully I will have an update on baby boy. I also can't believe tomorrow is the last day of June. Oh my, where did this month go?!

Oh that's right, I was moving!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

23 Weeks, Germany, Stitches!

Well Another week has come and gone and now I am 23 weeks along, that leaves 17 more weeks to go! It is crazy how fast this is moving along. I never thought I would get to 20 weeks, and now I want it to slow down, well maybe not!

Baby boy is still doing good. No name yet thought we have narrowed it down to ONE name, which would mean normally that we've picked the name... But no, someone isn't ready to commit to his ONLY son's name. I keep looking at new names, but it makes my eyes go crossed eye, and well he just sits there and kicks the living day lights out of me.

We are finally settled in our new house, we are in the process of setting up his room. With Dora's help..

We have our theme we want down, now to just start getting everything. But the registration is done so YAY!

I finally got my stitches out of my finger, not to anyone's pleasure (Savannah's, baby boy's, or mine) but I'm happy its taken care of!

Also we are going on a trip to Germany (YAY!) so don't mind the mess in the back ground (sorry packing) but here is this weeks pictures....

What the baby looks like at this stage. (thanks to babycenter)
Me and baby boy from the side.

And from the front.. we are ready for Germany!

Well that is all for now, just wanted to do a quick update! Now to get a few hours of sleep! Take care everyone <3

Monday, 13 June 2011

Hooray for being potty trained.. or so we thought.

When we started the idea of potty training Savannah, we where welcomed with the sound of "NO POTTY TRAIN!!" from a certain child.

Fast forward 6 months, and thinking it was going to be the death of us, we finally got her on the potty, fighting us the whole way. But once she actually learned what going "in the potty" ment she LOVED it. Grasped onto it right away, having little to no accidents. We couldn't have been more proud. As proud as one can get when being yelled at in a public building "I need to poop NOW!"

Now fast forward again another 8-9 months and its present week.

And all of a sudden our hard work seems to be going out the window. Someone is having accidents three, four times a day. We as parents, are staring at each other trying to understand what is going on with our little girl.

So I talk to her, and other than having a "bo bo on my toe" she doesn't know why she can't go in the potty. So I turn to my good friend Google. And I find out all these articles relating to our plight.

Has the child been stressed or dealing with:

*A new environment
*A new baby/pregnancy
*Change of routine
*Feeling left out

Umm.. Check.. Check.. Check.. Check..

With the move she wasn't center of attention, changed her routine and of course new environment. And with the baby on the way.. that doesn't need an explanation.

So now we know WHY the sudden change... now how to get it back to where it was?!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

My other child of the four legged variety

I've decided today to talk about my other baby. Not the four year old or the one I'm growing in my stomach, but the furry one that likes to wake me up at 7 in the morning by sitting on my pillow and purring. Yes, I'm talking about my little (term used loosely) kitty, Dora.

I love my kitty. Probably not as much as this lady but Dora has become a part of this family, my "other child".

How we "acquired" Dora is a story in itself. Because we did not go to a shelter, pet store, or breeder to find her. She came and found us. It was February of 2010, it had just snowed again (in a country that we were told didn't snow or if it did, didn't happen often) and Jeremy was TDY. I was at a friend's house on RAF Feltwell when I heard a kitten crying from outside. After being told I was crazy I opened her front door to find this wet little kitty.

I took her in but my friend's dog Demon scared the living day lights out of her, so she ran away. All the way into the arms of the neighbor who brought her back because we were chasing her (yes, in the snow). When I brought her inside, Savannah looked away from watching her show and said "Mommy, its a Dora!" pointing to the wet kitten. Thus, the name Dora stuck.

We dried her off and gave her food, which she sucked down in a matter of minutes. We then took her to the vets to see if she was mirco-chipped. We found out that she wasn't chipped, nor was she fixed. After posting ads for a found kitty for seven days, she was legally ours.

After chipping her, updating her shots (which ment starting from scratch since she had no record), and fixing her, she became a permanent part of the family.

But I noticed one thing after she settled in. She went from being under weight to becoming "fluffy" around the edges. I took that as a positive sign, eating and all. Until I found her little butt digging through the trash for chicken.

Or sitting at the table begging for my ribs (that only take three hours to cook!). Mind you she sits in MY spot..

So she started getting exercise by going outside. Here in England they don't have screens on their windows or doors so come summer time, when you open your windows to cool off the cat gets out. She owned the neighborhood. But one day, while we went for our family walk (usually after dinner), we heard the familiar jiggle. I turned and there was Dora. She stayed and followed behind us on our entire walk. The next night, same thing happened again, she followed us on our walk. One day she got brave and followed Savannah and I almost to her school!

This silly little cat loves to take family walks. But it only makes sense, since she IS family. I didn't know what we were missing in our family but she did, and that is why she came to us!

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Savannah always has a way of putting words together. I've decided to put them down so when she is older I can show her, her Savannahisms.

1. "When I grow up, I want to be a horse!"

2. "Mommy, I'm a princess.. No wait I'm a dinosaur.. RAWRRRR... Nope I'm still a princess."

3. "Mommy, I need the keys... Why.. Because I have to drive the kids to Burger King."

4. "Look its Africa!" (pointing to a Giraffe).

5. "Mommy, it's Octomom!" (pointing a to pregnant woman).

6. "There is a baby boy in my tummy."

7. "Ahhhh, it's nice to be home for a day."

8. "Everyone needs to calm down, breath... breeeeaaatttth

9. "Your an Arm!"

10. "I'm not from America!!!! I'm from UTAH...Daddy!"

11. "Daddy is playing his stupid game again"

12. "What's your Hunny's name?"

13. "Yea, I'm thunk" (trying to say I'm thug).

14. "I'm to legit to quit."

15. "Knock Knock.... Puppy is eating Grandma."

16. "Can I have a twenty please" (to the cashier)

17. "Hello, I'm your doctor, I see you today then you pay me."