Wednesday, February 27, 2013

- sleep lately -

So the last time I updated everyone about Ellie's sleep issues was at least two months ago...and so many of you sweet, caring readers friends have been asking how things have been going with her sleep lately so I thought it was finally time to post an update.  I'll be totally honest, I haven't mentioned her sleep in the past month or so, because I haven't wanted to jinx anything! But, after deciding that that was just plain silly hogwash...and me blogging about her sleep was not really going to jinx it, or make it any worse or better, I thought you guys all deserved the update you have been requesting!

So, where did I leave off last time I did an update? We tried the melatonin...big fail. We tried a few other "all natural" sleep aids...big fail. We tried sticker charts so that she could earn an awesome trip to the toy store...big fail. We tried bribing her with the promise of a chocolate treat every morning when she woke up (super healthy way to start her day huh? Hey, I was desperate!)...that worked for about a week...I thought we were finally on to something, and then, it started failing. So, sometime around mid January, I was at my absolute wits end, I was tired, I was crabby all the time, and I absolutely dreaded night time after going on almost 9 long, excruciating months of this.

So I told Matt that it was time to rearrange our bedroom and make room for a mattress on the floor for her. I needed sleep, and if this was the only way I was going to get it, then so be it. Now, understand this please...I DO NOT think there is anything wrong with co-sleeping at all...I was just hesitant because my child has never wanted to sleep with us (or in our room), and I was worried about starting something like this at age 3 when most parents were trying to wean their kids off of sleeping in their room. A few ground rules were set before setting up her new sleeping area...I knew she was NOT going to be sleeping in our bed....there just isn't room, and she is a light sleeper, and Matt is an "active" sleeper...not a good combination. I also knew the rule was going to be that she ALWAYS started off in her own bed. That way my husband and I could still have our room to least for a few hours every night. The next night when she woke up at her usual 1:00 a.m or so, I went to go get her, and brought her in our room...tucked her into her little mattress, and she fell immediately back to sleep...and was quiet and content there all night long. It was such a relief the next morning knowing that I only had to get up one time, and only for a total of maybe two minutes max just to bring her in our room. I knew right then, that this would be the path we would be sticking to. I needed my sleep, and this was the solution!

And the little one rocked it in our room every night for about two weeks...she either slept much better, or was still waking up multiple times once she was in our room, but was super quiet about it and, as soon as she woke up and saw where she was and that I was right there next to her, went right back to sleep, because she never made a peep and I was able to sleep so much better. I would just go get her the first time she woke up in the middle of night, bring her into our room, and we would all sleep soundly together until morning.

And then, at the beginning of February, the weirdest thing happened...she just stopped waking up at all, and started sleeping in her own bed, all night long. It seemed like it literally happened overnight. I'm not sure if it's because the novelty of sleeping in our room wore off, and she finally decided her bed was much more comfortable, or if her sleeping pattern/habits really just changed that quickly...but either way, we're going on almost a month (26 days to be exact...yes, I AM counting!), and she's been sleeping like a champ in her own bed. Without a peep, without any tears, sometimes without even moving a muscle all night long! Oh boy, has it been glorious! She's earned lots of treats and special rewards over the past 26 days, but they have all been "after thoughts" rewarding her after a couple days of good sleep, rather than me begging her ahead of time and dangling rewards over her head. She earned an ice cream party, complete with balloons and streamers...(she got the biggest kick out of it. It was just at our house, not a huge deal, but she was so excited about it)...

...she earned the "Shamu friend" she has been asking for from Sea World...

...and she's earned plenty of yummy (sugar free...but shhhh, don't tell her that) treats along the way...let's just say, it's been a very happy 26 days for everyone in the house! I remember a few months ago, one of my sweet blogger friends, Denise, emailed me some words of encouragement, telling me that they went through the same thing with their son....and that, like me, she had tried EVERYTHING And in the end...their sleeping problem just disappeared one night by itself. I'm hoping with everything I have that our problem has also just disappeared overnight, but I am not getting my hopes up...not quite yet. I know that if I assume Ellie's sleeping problem has completely gone away, and it then, it comes back, I will be so frustrated and defeated. Sleeping problems take EVERYTHING out of you, both physically and's so hard to function without sleep. So for now, I am just enjoying the sleep...but still holding my breath...not quite ready to declare our sleeping problem conquered. As a matter of fact, just this morning, Ellie woke up with that tale tell sign of a, it wouldn't surprise me if the whole sleeping thing went out the window tonight. Call me a pessimist if you will, but hey...I've been fighting this for almost 9 full months!!! Unfortunately, 26 days of awesome sleep is not enough for me to finally declare victory yet!

The good news is...the mattress still resides in our room...taking up space in our  master suite already tiny bedroom...and at least I know, that even if she starts waking up again, I have that to resort to, and I am totally comfortable with that now. As a matter of fact...if I were to be totally honest...I rather liked peeking my eyes open and seeing her sleeping right next to me...and in the morning, when she finally peeked her eyes open, I would always get the biggest smile out of her when she realized where she was...along with an itty bitty sleepy wave and an eye rub...melt my heart! Dare I say I kind of miss her, and have looked longingly at that empty mattress these past 26 days...I mean...if I'm truly being honest here...

Thank you to each and every one of you who have asked me lately how we have been doing with sleep late. Your concern has been so sweet! You guys really are the best!

Monday, February 25, 2013

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! We sure did! Now it's back to work, back to the grind, and only four more days until the next fabulous weekend!

Here is the - quick recipe of the week - for you. Another crock pot recipe that I found through my Crockin' Girls cookbook. I've made it a couple different times now, and it has always turned out great!

White Chicken Spaghetti
5 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 block low fat cream cheese
1 package Italian dressing dry seasoning
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 (16-ounce) package spaghetti noodles

Combine chicken, cream cheese, seasoning, and cream of chicken soup in the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Before serving, cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions and add to chicken mixture.

Image credit

It's really as easy as it looks, and it's one of the better "simple" recipes I have tried in a long time! Super kid friendly, and perfect for those busy weeknights! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

- these are a few of my favorite things -

First of all, I want to start off by saying a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who commented, emailed me, or messaged me about this post. You guys are all such amazing people and I am so glad this little blog has introduced me to so many of you! Thank you, for sticking with me, and my sporadic posting, and my generally crazy life! Every single one of you made my day just letting me know that you still care about what I have to say, even if it's only once a week these days!!

Now, let's get to the point of this post...

I absolutely love finding new and useful things...things that make my life easier, or more fun, or are just plain pretty to look at! And I know there are so many things out there that I probably really could make good use out of, that I just don't know about! So I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my most recent awesome finds (some kid related, some not...totally a mix of completely random things that have made my life easier in some way or another) And if you have any new and useful things you want to share with me, I'd love to find some new discoveries!

Camera Coats

One of my most recent finds that I am loving right now is a camera coat, found here, Camera Coats. I am not a professional photographer, and I don't really ever go out on "shoots". Mostly it's just me, my camera, and whichever one lens I choose to haul around for the day. Yes, it's crazy, but I carry my camera around like it's a tiny point and's almost ALWAYS in my bag.But because I don't need to carry around multiple lenses or any other equipment, an actual large camera handbag is a bit of an overkill for me. Instead, I ordered a Camera Coat to keep my camera protected when I throw it in my everyday bag. They have many different patterns, and most of them are waterproof (although you can get one that isn't waterproof if you don't like the "shiny" look that the waterproof material gives). It's light weight (which is so important when I already have a heavy DSLR, and a heavy lens), and it's pretty to look at too! They come in a variety of sizes, so just be sure you measure your camera and your lens so that you order the correct size!

Progresso Recipe Starters

I recently tried these out...holy cow...good, and super easy to use. They are basically a cooking sauce that is packed with seasoning and flavor, and they make a great starter for almost any dish! There are recipes on each can for some super amazing looking dishes, but you can also just dump a can of this in a crockpot or pyrex dish with some chicken, and you have yourself a perfect main dish. I recently baked some chicken with this sauce, and my husband declared it the "best tasting chicken" I have ever made. I wanted to pretend that I had concocted the wonderful sauce that was on our chicken all on my own, but I have to confess, I just used a can of this...that's it...nothing else! These sauces come in 5 different flavors: Creamy Parmesan Basil, Creamy Portabella Mushroom, Creamy Roasted Garlic, Creamy Three Cheese, and Fire Roasted Tomato. I haven't tried all of them yet, but I definitely will. They can be used over meat, fish, pasta, and basically anything else you want to use them on. They are definitely a great "go to" to have on hand for those busy weeknights! Check out Progesso's website for more recipes!

Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pad

These are awesome to keep your toddler busy on the plane, or in a restaurant. Ellie loves them so we try to keep them for "special occasions" where she has to sit still for long periods of time because they really can keep her attention for quite awhile. They have "boy" themed pads, "girl" themed pads and "unisex" themed pads.

Downy Wrinkle Releaser

I don't iron...period. Nope, I just won't do it! I refuse to buy anything that looks like it might need ironing. However, I found this ingenious product that I always keep on hand for the small "wrinkle jobs" that I need to take care of. It works great for taking out a single crease lines, freshening a slightly wrinkled shirt, or making those bows and collars stay down on Ellie's clothes. And it's so much easier than pulling out the big ironing board and iron!! (Believe it or not, we don't even own an ironing board! I told you...I don't iron...) Oh, and it comes in a travel size which is AWESOME to pack in your case your clothes come out of the suitcase in anything less than a "fresh off the hanger" state.

I told you it was a pretty random list! ha ha! Don't forget...I'd love to hear about some of the new and useful things you have found for you, your household, or your kids!

Monday, February 18, 2013

- quick recipe of the week -

Hi folks! I'm back today with another recipe to share with you, and another blogger to introduce you to! Meet Lisa from 3 Girls and 1 Boy. She's a wonderful person, and an awesome IG friend of mine :-) Lisa is a mom to 2 beautiful little girls and a proud Navy wife. She loves to create things out of nothing and she has a lot of crafting tutorials, as well as furniture makeovers that she blogs about. She also features a lot of quick, family friendly recipes on her blog that you DEFINITELY have to go check out!

Image credit Lisa
Pesto Pasta Salad
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (just watch how it mixes)
1/2 cup pine nuts
6 tablespoons garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cooked pasta
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes

Combine the basil with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil (watch the consistency of the pesto and stop when it's how you like it) while the food processor is on (make sure the blender is off if you use a blender). Stop & scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Mix the cooked pasta and the tomatoes up in a bowl with the pesto mixture. Top with more Romano or Parmesan cheese if desired.

Image credit Lisa

Thank you so much Lisa! This looks like a great, healthy salad that can be a meal of it's own, or a great side dish. And it's easy to make, which are always my favorite kinds of recipes!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

- where is this little blog is headed -

So, if you haven't noticed...I haven't been around here much lately. I can't exactly figure out what has changed in the past year or so, other than the fact that my little one is growing up...and just takes it out of me these days. I'm telling you, this age is amazing for so many reasons...but so exhausting for so many reasons! By the time I finally get her wrestled into her bed, and by the time her eyes are finally shut for the night, I don't have much left in me to do things like blog. Honestly, I would rather sit on the couch with the hubs and do things that require less creativity and wit, like catching up on IG, or reading other's blogs (don't worry friends, I am still out there reading and catching up on your blogs!!! Every single one of them!)

Recently, when I started to look back and realized that at this point, I am only posting maybe twice a week, if even that, I started to stress out. My number of followers hasn't increased in over two months, because I just don't have time to participate in any sort of blog hops or giveaways. It's so hard not to get caught up in the blog counting your followers, in forcing yourself to post daily.

But let me just be honest, I don't have the time to get caught up in that world right now. So that's when I had to stop to think where I wanted this little blog to be heading. And I had to stop to remind myself, that back when I started this blog, it was about recording the moments in our life. About capturing cute stories about the things Ellie did or said, or post the pictures of our fun times, or, to even remember the hard challenging times. But somewhere along the way, this little blog brought me even more than that...I started to meet some AMAZING friends. People who were in the exact place in their lives as I was. People whom I have never met in person (well except this one awesome blogger friend that I was just destined to meet!), but yet, I still feel so close to them. So then, this little blog started becoming a way to catch up with those friends. To keep them in the loop about what we have been up to, while continuing to read what they have been up to...

...and then came Instagram...where I could keep up with these amazing people, but in a much quicker, daily way. And hence, my blog posts starting coming few and far between. And every once in awhile, when I look at how much my stats have dropped, or when I notice that yet one more follower has "un followed" my blog, it stresses me out....for just a second. And then I realize that really, that's not what my little blog is all about.

I will continue posting here, when I have things to say (which actually is quite often...if you could read every single blog post that currently resides in my head, you would be amazed!). But for now, the pressure to post with any sort of regularity is off. I will continue to catch up on your blogs, and I will be here, at this little blog, weekly...but I can't promise you a post every day...or even a post every other day...I can't promise you anything, other than the fact that this little blog will go back to what it was intended to be when I first started it. My outlet when I have things to say, my record keeper when I have moments I don't ever want to forget, and my photo album when I have pictures that can tell the story of our lives.

Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me...who continue to visit this little blog, even though my posts are lacking these days. It is you guys that I really care about. It is you guys that I want to share my stories with. It is you guys that I love so much!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

- this made my day -

Okay, so I'm gonna be honest here...the terrible two's are nothing compared to the "they don't really even have a name for it" three's. Between Ellie pretty much dropping her nap (but probably still needing one), her dreadful habit of not being able to sleep through the night (ever!) , and her little fiery personality really starting to shine, I swear we have a 3 year old with the most dramatic mood swings ever. And it's the hardest on Matt, because she has for some reason decided that Daddy can't do anything at all for her...she won't let him get her dressed, brush her teeth, put her to bed, or even be the first person she sees in the morning when she wakes up. Needless to say, often times it sounds like World War III in our house most nights. She can seriously be the most mellow, well behaved kid when she wants to be, but she can also be the most dramatic, emotional kid when she wants to be! Hmmm, if this is a glimpse into her teenage years, I think we are in a lot of trouble!

Anyway, a few people had posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago, and last night, after a ridiculously tough night of getting my 3 year old showered, in her pj's, and tucked into her bed, I had to read it again....and boy, did it make my day!

(Some of these are total guesses. Educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless. Seems like it’s hard being a kid.)

His sock is on wrong.

His lip tastes salty.

His shirt has a tag on it.

The car seat is weird.

He’s hungry, but can’t remember the word “hungry.”

Someone touched his knee.

He’s not allowed in the oven.

I picked out the wrong pants.

His brother looked at him.

His brother didn’t look at him.

His hair is heavy.

We don’t understand what he said.

He doesn’t want to get out of the car.

He wants to get out of the car by himself.

The iPad has a password.

His sleeve is touching his thumb.

He doesn’t understand how popsicles are made.

The inside of his nose stinks.

Chicken is gross.

A balloon he got six months ago is missing.

A puzzle piece won’t fit in upside down.

I gave him the wrong blue crayon.

The gummi vitamin is too firm.

Netflix is slow.

He jumped off the sofa and we weren’t watching.

He’s not allowed to touch fire.

Everything is wrong with his coat.

There’s a dog within a 70 mile radius.

A shoe should fit either foot.

I asked him a question.

His brother is talking.

He can’t lift a pumpkin.

He can’t have my keys.

The cat is in his way.

The cat won’t let him touch its eyeball.

The inside of his cheek feels rough.

Things take too long to cook.

He has too much food in his mouth.

He sneezed.

He doesn’t know how to type.

The DustBuster is going to eat him.

His mom is taking a shower.

Someone knocked over his tower.

He got powdered sugar on his pants.

The yogurt won’t stay on his spoon.


by Jason Good

Monday, February 4, 2013

- quick recipe of the week -

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and had fun watching the Superbowl...if that's your thing! Matt was away on a guys trip this weekend, so I had a pretty mellow Superbowl with Ellie. But it was still fun, and, as usual, I was mostly just paying attention to the commercials, since I had no attachments to either team playing.

Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Tani, from, for the life of Tani Bree & her loves. Tani and I have been following each other's blogs for quite some time...she was one of the first blogs I started following actually! I've watched her beautiful little girl, Brielle, grow, and have followed her throughout her long, and emotional journey to get pregnant a second time...which she now is (I was ecstatic when I heard the news...oh yeah, and it's a little boy!!!) Tani just has the sweetest soul ever, and she's just amazing!

Image credit Tani

In addition to writing about herself and her family, she often writes about food, crafting, fitness, photography, songwriting, and clothes. Being a wife and a mother is so deeply satisfying to her, and she is always looking for more ways to make the story of her family a story worth cherishing.

Cheesy Jalapeño Popper Baked Stuffed Chicken
2 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 jalapeños, chopped (remove seeds for milder)
3 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
4 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar jack
2 tbsp chopped scallions
8 thin sliced skinless chicken breast cutlets, 3 oz each
1/2 cup Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 1/2 lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
olive oil non-stick spray

Wash and dry chicken cutlets, season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.Combine cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeño and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl. Lay chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.Place breadcrumbs in a bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish.Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray. Bake 22-25 minutes, serve immediately.


This look amazing! Thanks for sharing Tani! I absolutely love stuffed turns regular chicken into AMAZING chicken!

Go say hi to Tani, and get to know her and her family. You'll be so glad you did! She's just plain awesome!

Friday, February 1, 2013

- flashback friday -

I seriously die when I see old pictures of Ellie! She was so chubby!! She had this perfectly round, chubby face that I always wanted to squeeze!! Eeee! I CAN NOT believe how much she has grown up in three years!

Image credit Nina S.

Image credit Nina S. 

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