Friday, January 25, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

Several months ago I purchased a Groupon/Living Social/Amazon Local/something-or-other-discount-deal for a year's subscription to Menu for the Week, a weekly meal planning service.  I LOVE it!  Not only is the food great, but they use "normal" foods that I tend to buy anyway, they put together a printable shopping list for me each week, the recipes makes enough for Jacob and I to have lunch left overs, and it's nice to not have to think about what's for dinner when I get home at night. Here is one of the recipes that we tried last week.  It is DELICIOUS!  It was a great meal for a cold, wet, Oregon evening.  Plus, I love easy crock pot recipes (and how good my house smells when I come home hungry after a day at work!) I definitely recommend. =) 

(I'm making it again tonight so that I can take it tomorrow to feed the Friends of Trees volunteers who are planting (for FREE!) two trees on our front strip.)

Crock Pot Upside Down Chicken Potpie
Makes 6 servings
Active Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 6 hours

1 - 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion - finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 18-ounce jar chicken gravy
1/2 gravy jar water
2 stalks celery - finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen mixed vegetables -
petite cut with peas, carrot, and corn
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/4 cups biscuit mix
2/3 cup milk

1) Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Top with onion, celery, bay leaf, pepper and gravy. Fill gravy jar half way with water and pour into pot.

2) Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.

3) About 30 minutes before serving, add frozen vegetables to the pot. Dissolve 2 T of flour in 1/2 cup
milk. Pour into crock pot and stir. Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes to an hour.

4) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450. Combine milk and biscuit mix. Mix well and drop by heaping
tablespoons onto a large baking sheet. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.

5) Break chicken up with a spoon (it will fall apart), remove bay leaf and serve with a biscuit in each bowl.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

9 Months!

Weight/Length- You have your nine-month appointment on Friday, so I'll update then!  **Update** as of your doctor's appointment today (1/25) you are 18 lbs, 10 oz and 28.25".  You're growing so fast, I can't believe it!

Eating- We have increased your solid food intake this month to 2-3 "meals" per day.  You are doing AWESOME with it and I think you're formula/bottle consumption has actually started to decrease.  You love to feed yourself, too.  I've noticed greater solid-food-success with those items that you can pick up and put in your own mouth (crackers, bananas, steamed carrots, avocado and tomato slices, etc.)  We're still trying to get you to figure out the sippy cup though... you seem to prefer to chew on the handle than to actual drink what's in the thing.

Teeth- I am adding this as a new category because I think it's important now!  You currently have 4 teeth (3 on the top, 1 on the bottom).  Your top front teeth came in first (which, apparently is abnormal).  You have one more top tooth starting to make it's way through and, we think, another bottom one on it's way soon!

Sleep- You are a pretty awesome little sleeper.  You've been going to bed a bit earlier these days (today we started the bedtime routine at 6:30!), but you are still sleeping roughly 10-11 hours at night, waking up, having a bottle, and then sleeping for another couple hours!  I think that, maybe, you're going through a growth spurt and need that extra sleep!

 Clothes-You are mostly in 9 month stuff now... which is really sad for me because you had some adorable 6-month clothes!  I've kept them around as long as I can, but I'm having a hard time squeezing them over your head!

Personality-Happy, happy, happy!  And very curious and independent!  You are active and love to be moving, observing and experiencing new things!  I think you're going to be a lot like your mother.  ;)

  • You like playing with other kids!  You got a little peeved when I picked you up early from day care the other day since, I'm guessing, you weren't done with your play time yet!
  • You like sweet foods.  We are having a lot of luck with fruits... vegetables have proven to be more of a challenge.
  • You love standing up!  Every time I put you down you refuse to bend your own legs to sit/crawl. lol  You don't want to admit that you can't quite walk yet.
  • You like Banana Mum Mums
  • You like seeing mom and dad when we pick you up at day care
  •  You don't like LEAVING day care.  =)
  • You don't like Chicken and Veggie Gerber baby food. Why tried for three days straight and you just weren't having it!

  •  You've tried lots of new foods this month.... but I can't remember specifically which ones! lol
  •  You are feeling more confident on your two feet.  You are starting to let go of things and stand there for a few seconds before you grab something else and/or fall over.
  •  You are starting to crawl up to me when I'm in the kitchen cooking, use my legs to pull yourself up, and then look up at me like "Mom, pick me up!".  We're trying to teach you how to say "Up" and "Down"... I fear we'll regret that soon. lol
  •  You met your first British friend this month!  Little Eva came to visit all the way from Bristol!
  •  You celebrated your first FOUR Christmases! It was quite the season for you!
  •  You rang in your first New Year... asleep in your crib.  ;)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's' for Dinner?

When I was at the chiropractor yesterday she was talking to me about taking on a low Glycemic Index diet, and mentioned that it was important for me to learn and understand what "good" foods were as I was probably the one that has the most impact on my family's diets. 

This startled me.  Not because it's not true... but because it IS.  I do the bulk of the cooking and decision making when it comes to the food that we purchase.  I never really thought about it before, but she's right... when it was just Jacob and I, I probably wouldn't have thought twice about this, but now that Emily is starting to eat more and more solid foods, it made me realize just how much responsibility I have to my daughter to make sure that she is well fed and getting the right kinds of foods.  It's kind of unsettling. lol  I think I'm going to be looking at grocery shopping in a whole new light now... and I'm working on remembering all of the healthy "go-to foods" on the list that I was given.

On that note, I'm starting to run out of ideas of baby-friendly foods... what did you all give your children in the early stages?  Either "baby food" form or "baby-led weaning" form.... I'm open to either, just needing some ideas. =)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Being pregnant... natural childbirth... breastfeeding...  I knew that my body was going to change.  Some things would get bigger, others would start their journey south, colors would change, new marks would appear... I saw it all coming and have dealt with it.  But what I DIDN'T see coming, and what I wasn't prepared for, was the stress and strain to my muscles and joints. 

I have been in near constant pain since I started going back to work (at least, that's when I first really noticed it).  My back, my neck... hurt.  It's gotten so bad that I can only really sit at my computer in the office for about 20 minutes before I feel the need to crack my neck, twist my back and/or get up and take a lap around the office.  (I think it's gotten even worse since I stopped breastfeeding... no longer biologically required to take a break every couple of hours).

At first I blamed all of the pain on the horrible (non)ergonomics of my work station.  I requested a keyboard tray and suddenly it's become a 3-month long process to get the whole office assessed, get the ok from the higher ups to buy equipment, and then specific items found, ordered and installed (I am still waiting on that keyboard tray).

I've tried massage and acupuncture to relieve some of the tension.  Massage feels great at the time and immediately after, but has had no long-term effects... same with acupuncture.. but it didn't feel nearly as good during the process, so I stopped wasting my sick time for those appointments.  My colleague and husband FINALLY convinced me to go to a chiropractor (I admit, I was pretty petrified... the thought of someone cracking my neck scares the shit out of me), but I went... and am soo glad that I did!

Apparently the root of the problem was likely not my office space (though, it definitely is exacerbating the problem), but rather... breastfeeding.  The strain from the position has caused some unwanted side effects that my chiro is now trying to correct with twice-a-week appointments, cracking, ultrasound, soft tissue work, and, most recently, tape.  Yes, you heard me right.  My back/shoulders/neck have been covered in K Tape (as seen on the Olympics) since Monday.  Super weird.  I've been wearing a lot of scarves. lol  But, here's the funny thing, I am starting to feel better.

On Tuesday, the day after my last appointment, my boss brought me a lumbar support pillow to try... and I don't know if it was the pillow, the most recent round of adjustments, or the tape holding my back/neck together... but I felt WONDERFUL.  I felt like my old self.  I had forgotten what that felt like.  On Wednesday I was a little tender/sore from the chiro on Monday (I seem to skip a day before I get sore) but otherwise it was another good day.  Today I was home with a sick baby, so I can't compare for a third day, but still, those last two days have given me all kinds of hope that maybe, someday soon, I won't have to make sure that I have a bottle of pain pills in my desk drawer at all times.  I can't wait!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Baby Proof vs. Bubble Wrap

Now that Emily is (very) mobile and starting to get into/explore everything, the issue of "baby proofing" has come up.  I have done a little bit here and there to prepare:
  • Pushed a couple of coffee tables up against walls rather than leaving them in the middle of the our living spaces;
  • Put plugs in the outlets that she finds of interest;
  • Hid/secured wires that she could grab/pull on/chew;
  • Put up a baby gate between her "free-roam" space and the rest of the house;
  • Moved all small/heavy/hard objects up high/out of her way;
  • Watch her like a hawk every time she's near the cat.... etc.,
I honestly feel like these things are satisfactory.  I'm sure that I'll continue finding things that need to be moved/hidden/etc. (will be putting latches on the cleaning supply cupboard soon), but I do not plan to bubble wrap my child or my house.  She is GOING to get hurt.  It's part of being a kid.  Fingers WILL get smooshed in doors, heads WILL get banged on floors, the cat WILL scratch her at some point... these things happen, and, I believe will actually be good lessons for her... she'll learn not to grab the cat's tail, not to stick her fingers there, and to catch herself before her head hits the ground.  She'll learn that getting hurt is NOT the end of the world, and she'll gain the confidence to learn from her mistakes and try again... to problem solve... to find another way to get what she wants/needs.

Many baby-proofing items have been brought to my attention recently, and I have to wonder, "Really"?  For example:

Thudguard baby helmet

 I wince every time Emily hits her head on our floors as she learns to crawl/stand/walk/maneuver... but I am not about to wrestler her into wearing one of these (or spend $50 to do so!).  And I'll tell you, she is falling less, her reflexes are getting better and her crying/panicking when she falls are getting less end-of-the-world-ish.  She's learning!