Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Can't Craft...But I Can Cook

Sometimes I get down on myself. I look at all these other stay-at-home mom's who make cute things for their kids and their home and to sell on their little websites...and I get down. I am not a creative thinker. I don't have that side of the brain in full use. I am a logical thinker. I think in numbers. Ask anyone close to me...I am a Numbers Girl.

The other day at the gas station,
I pulled up to a pump that had the amount of $30.20 paid from the previous car.
I thought that was kinda cool
but thought taking a picture would be silly.
Little did I know that my own total would come out to be $40.30
and that taking a picture would have been AWESOME!
I didn't pump extra to get it there,
it just landed there,
and it was cool.
I told Nik about this and he chuckled
because he knows how I am with numbers.

The other (a different) day
I was telling Nik
how I only had to go make such-and-such bill payment 3,
maybe 4,
more times before the baby gets here..
depending on if she comes early like Tatum,
or on time like a good girl.
He laughed about how I count down to a big event with
Fast Sundays (The first Sunday of each month)
or how I count Paychecks
or weekends
or many other things
and how that makes me happy.
He just loves me
and laughs FOR me.
But that is how I am.
That is how I do things.

When out driving...
I point out cool license plates
that have cool number sequences,
like, 366 ZMM (for example. just made that up). 

I just like numbers.
I am a logical person,
not a crafty person.
I liked Math more than Art class.
I like to balance our checkbook.
It makes me feel good
when the numbers add up right.

WOAAHHH.... long sidenotes there. But you get the picture.

I have longed to be a person that loves sewing. I do it and SOMETIMES have fun with it. Most times I am fretting over making it perfect and the line not going crooked. That is why I love numbers. Numbers are perfect (except for Uterine Math - and I will make another post about that for it. Nik is the one that made this Math up) . They make sense to me. I can make them work. Sewing is very stressful for me. Maybe I just need to do it more and learn to be better and learn to let go and like it.

Anywho....what I am getting at, is I like to cook (when I have a recipe that has numbers I can follow. haha). I am not a cook that can "throw stuff together" and have it be good. No. Not me. I don't guesstimate on how much 1/5 Cup Milk is and 1 Cup Flour. I measure. When I have those numbers, I like to cook.

I have been doing Freezer meals for almost a whole year now (although not consistently) and I LOVE THEM! I guess I should clarify one thing....I don't like to cook dinner when it is time for dinner. It is too stressful for me. Either I start too late and then we have a late late dinner, or Tatum won't leave the kitchen and begs to be picked up when I am working on the hot stove, or the meal will have to cook in the oven and I didn't read that far down the recipe to plan accordingly. I do not like to cook at dinner time. If I have to, it is usually spaghetti or sandwiches. haha. All my other nice meals are freezer meals.

Over the last 4 days Nik and I have:
-cubed/cut/packaged 60lbs of chicken breast that we ordered from Zaycon Foods
-completed a 3 hour shopping trip to multiple stores
-prepared over 10 Freezer Meals (and have more to do over the next few days)

I have had to take things extra slow this time around because this pregnancy has already been rough and I am only 22 weeks along, just over the halfway mark.

But I love this. I have enjoyed putting these meals together, knowing that dinners will be ready when I need them and that all I will have to do is throw them in the oven to heat up or in the crockpot to cook. With the weather getting colder, it will be nice to use my oven as a heat source.

I have a blog that is just for the recipes I have tried and loved...Dawna Dinners...and I will be posting up the latest recipes as soon as I try them. But for now, I will list the recipes so you can check them out for yourself. If you try them before I do and you find that a change needs to be made, let me know. I am open to suggestions.

All in all...I feel accomplished with making these Freezer Meals. I am not the best at being creative...but I can follow a recipe. Nik constantly reminds me that all women are different and do different things better than others and that I just need to look at what I CAN do and LOVE to do instead of what I lack in...or feel I lack in.

When I was researching how to do all this last year, it just made sense. When making these meals I dirty everything in my kitchen at once. I don't dirty all the utensils each and every night to have to wash them again and repeat the next night. I dirty them once and then I am done. It made sense.
I hate meal planning...but if I can plan my meals ONCE and be done...I'm happy.
Now, I can spend more time with Tatum each day instead of spending my afternoon/evenings in the kitchen.
It just made sense for me to do it this way. It definitely isn't for everyone, but it works for our family.
If ever anyone wants to make meals with me, let me know. I take it nice and slow. It is at least a 3 day process, for me, but you can do it faster if you would like. I HAVE done it ALL in one day but that was rough.
Day One: Shop
Day Two: Prepare Meats
Day Three+: Put it all together.


This first one is the only one that does not tell you how to freeze it. I just undercooked the pasta and made it like they said and then froze it with a lid. I have added chicken, asparagus, and spinach. yuuummmm!

These shells are my mom's favorite. I am not the fondest of them....but try them out and you might love them or need to tweak the recipe. I want to continue to make them, I just need to figure out what I need to fix, first.

This is yummy! We eat it with rice and steamed veggies. Again, with every recipe, make sure to watch how your food cooks. With this one, I do not have to cook it as long. And with this one I freeze it and thaw it in a bag and then when I am ready to bake it, I place it in a spare baking dish. Less freezer space and then it doesn't use up all my dishes.

One of my favorites. It is soooo juicy!

Another one of my favorites. LOVE IT!

I made these and they were good. For some reason my tortillas came out soggy. Maybe because I didn't freeze mine immediately. Not sure. I just need to keep trying it and perfecting my skills.

So yummy. I doubled the meat and just did 1.5 on the noodles because the first time I made it, the ratio was a little off for me. I wanted it more filling and less on just eating carbs.

I make a couple of these as my back ups. It only takes about 3 hours or less on high in the crockpot. We eat this over rice.

NEW RECIPES (i have yet to try)

I have been putting these together but haven't tasted them for myself, so if you do try them and have a suggestion on something else to add to them or to cook them for less time or anything else, let me know, please. I would love any help I can get.

Casseroles/Oven required meals:

Crockpot Meals:
(did make this on Sunday...DELICIOUS when served just over rice or with rice in tortilla)



Monday, October 8, 2012

Family of Four

I can't believe I haven't been on here to update since February. 

This is what Tatum looked like back in February.

And here is what she looks like 8 months later.

It blows my mind how much our family has changed over 16.5 months (since Tatum was born), let alone the last 8 months. So, here is a little update on our family of Four.

He works Full Time with
He loves it there! The owner sure does know how to treat his employees right.
Nik is also Full Time at ASU.
I believe he is taking 13 credit hours.
Nik loves his daughter and is so cute with her. I love watching them play together.
He has been learning how to build websites and is having lots of fun.
I don't see him all that much because he really just comes home to sleep and do work/school all over again the next day.
Oh, and to top it off,  Nik's calling in our ward is to be the Ward Missionary's Assistant.

I am 20.4 weeks pregnant with another little girl.
I am so blessed to be able to stay home with Tatum and I love it!
I have a calling in the ward - Activity Days Leader.
I have started baking more, which is good and bad.
Good because it is yummy.
Bad because standing too long in one spot makes my hips hurt real bad
Because the baby is already making me gain weight, I don't need the unhealthy calories to do that too.
My body has reached that awkward stage where my shirts are too small, so I like to wear Nik's shirts, but then that is weird if I leave the house in I have like 2 shirts I feel comfortable enough to wear outside of the house. If you often see me in those two shirts...don't worry, I wash them daily.
I ride the scooters at Walmart and anywhere else we go...Nik's orders.
I have really bad hip problems (yes, I am pregnant, but they are really bad...but I am not going to sit here and complain) so that is why I ride the scooters. This pain didn't start until much later while pregnant with Tatum, but this time around the hormone/chemical/whatever-you-want-to-call-it Relaxin released itself far too early for comfort.
I have already had to go to the Triage to have them stop my contractions.
Honestly, I am so happy to be pregnant and to be bringing another sweet child into our family...and all this pain and trouble is completely worth it! I cannot wait to meet her in February.

16.5 months old
24lbs (79%tile)
33inches (97%tile)
She has been walking for 2 months.
She was the Flower Girl at Caren and John's wedding back in August.
She signs "please" and sometimes will sign "more"
She waves, blows kisses, gives kisses, claps, and plays Peek-A-Boo (sometimes by herself). 
She says Yes, Dada, Mama, Gamma, Papa, Nana, Hi, Hello, and Diddy (Mickey).
She shakes and nods her head to communicate.
She is a Parrot...mimicking everything we do.
She loves brushing her teeth.
She tries to run and it makes us laugh everytime...because it is like a Hopping Run. 
She can feed herself with a fork and spoon...not all that well, but she understands how it works.
She drinks out of a cup and has been bottle-free since she turned 1, back in May
And she has been sippy cup-free for almost 3 months.
She has been pacifier-free for over 3 months.
She has 12 teeth and 2 more are coming in as we speak.
It is so crazy that she understands what we when I tell her "It is time to change your diaper" or "Time to brush your teeth/hair" or "Let's go read a book" or "Time for bed" "Would you like some water/milk?"...she knows where to go for these things. 
She knows that she is not allowed to touch the working TV remotes and that those are Mommy's and Daddy's and that Tatum has her own non-working remote. Well, sometimes she finds Mommy's remote and will play with it when I am not looking/in the other room...but as soon as I see her with it, she hands it right over, without question. Same with our phones, most of the time.
She is now tall enough to climb on the she does that most of the day. Climb on. Slide off. Climb on. Slide off. 
When she wants me to have something she is holding, she will grab my hand, turn it so it's palm-up, and put the object in my hand. It will be a book, a toy, the TV remote, a Pop Tart, Fruit snack, her shoes, and sometimes my watch. That has been it so far.

Baby Girl Berry:
She has been moving around a lot and I love it!
She doesn't like Red Salsa, just like how Tatum didn't like it either, but loves Green Salsa.
She doesn't like Dr Pepper. More of a Coke girl.
I love her so much already!
Our next appointment is this coming Thursday and I can't wait to see her on the screen and take some pictures home with us.

Hopefully this wasn't too scattered for you to follow. This Pregnancy Brain thing is real and it makes it really hard for me to put logical sentences together. 
We have been in our house for 3.5 months and I just barely got around to completely unpacking our room and Tatum's room last month. Yes, I had a good excuse, but am much happier now that it is done.
We love our home and our neighborhood. There are so many good people on our street, and we know almost all of the neighbors that surround us.
Our ward is so so so nice and we finally feel like we are a part of a ward that accepts us and welcomes us with open arms.
We have two Tortoises, Slice and Hugo Jr, and we hope to add a dog to our family sometime next year...but we will see how things go with a newborn before adding a puppy to the mix. 
That is all for now.