31 December 2014

Crib Album…Just Because

For my 100th blog post, I bring to you a crib-tastic photo shoot. Eli picked out his favorite to give to his grandparents and great-grandparents as a Christmas present. What a ham. 
Taken { 12.11.14 }

23 December 2014

Southwest Sweet Potato Bowls

This is one of our family favorites since Florida. We like to watch The Biggest Loser and got on their website to make this recipe after seeing it on one of the episodes. It was originally made with baked sweet potatoes, which of course takes a good chunk of time. So when I realized a way to make it in less than 30 minutes tonight, I figured it was a blog-worthy share! These ingredients might make you wonder what the heck we were thinking, but I promise the combination of flavors is absolutely delicious. And now it's an easy, quick, filling, healthy dinner!

What you'll need:
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 lb ground turkey
1 jar of  salsa
1 jar of salsa verde 
Greek yogurt (you can sub sour cream)
Optional: any additional toppings. 
   (This time we used: 1 can of black beans, 1/4 red onion, and 1/2 of an avocado.)
***Serving: This recipe made enough for 3 large bowls.

Peel and cube three sweet potatoes and steam for about 20 minutes (until fork tender). Brown 1 lb of ground turkey. The only thing I added to the meat was cilantro. There is plenty of added seasonings in the salsas. Also, you should prep any additional ingredients you want to add at this time. (I heated the black beans, diced the onions, sliced the avocado.) Once the taters are tender and turkey is brown, layer up!

Scoop the sweet potatoes into a bowl. Spoon on some salsa.

Pile on the ground turkey, and smother in some salsa verde. 

Cover in black beans, greek yogurt, and red onion. Or just a dollop of the greek yogurt will do. Garnish with avocado and enjoy! Mix it up or mash it up and munch it up. Yummm.

20 December 2014

7 Months Old

Hahaha. Just kidding.

Eli is seven months old today!

Eli is such a curious little explorer. He's in constant motion or asleep. There's really no in-between. He is scooting and rocking and rolling, but crawling is still some time away. He really wants to figure out how to pull up on things. While he can't quite get up on his own, he loves standing up holding onto furniture. And Eli has started coming up with the silliest faces! He loves his baths. His favorite part is hitting the water and splashing his parents. He is pretty stubborn and a little adrenaline junkie. He loves being tossed and thrown in the air. We bounce and dance and juggle and swing him around all the time. I'm getting super strong shoulders ha!

The last 30 days, we had a weird schedule with visitors, end of school, and predeployment, so Eli had a hard time napping and getting to sleep at night. Momma and dad were stressed = baby was stressed. And he was teething. He now has two top teeth to matching the bottom. Hubs says he went from reverse-rabbit to jack-o-lantern. Since turning in my last assignment this semester, Hubs being off work for Christmas leave, and those teeth finally breaking through, Eli has been sleeping great and our happy baby is back!

Adorable Outtakes:

29 November 2014

Six Months Old

Eli was six months old last week!

I'm nine days behind posting Eli's six month pictures! I promise I didn't forget about you. I've been busy. Not in the way "I'm super important and scheduled and insensitive" kind of way, but more in the "I can't remember to eat or shower or what day it is" kind of way. With pre-deployment, school, visitors, holidays, and everyday things with a teething, active baby boy, some things just get pushed back. Because any free moment is for naps. Momma's naps.

Eli is doing big boy things. Just hours after I posted the 5 Month post, he sat up by himself. On top of his two teeth, Eli has more hair, had his first snow, and starting trying food! His favorites so far are apples, pears, bananas, asparagus, spaghetti squash, and fish. Needless to say, this bouncing buddy is bigger. His appointment last week said he was over fifteen pounds and had grown about an inch. He is not quite out of 3 month clothes and is finally starting to wear some 6 months! He is a pro at sitting up by himself and grabbing his toys. He is starting to try to scoot and rock forward, but mainly his version of transporting is a controlled face plant. He cannot go from on his tummy or back to sitting up yet, and he isn't on his hands and knees yet. Thank goodness! I need a little extra time before this energetic guy gets moving. Eli needs his naps. If naps are skipped, Eli gets rude. He still only has two teeth, but we are hoping that more teeth on the way is the reason for his being a grumpy, drooly biter lately. He mostly wants to be held and is quite the attention hog. He might have a little temperamental, stubborn streak in him. He locks out and bucks back and has added some grunts and groans to his vocabulary. He hates being constrained in his car seat. But when he cheeses with those two bottom pearly whites or gives us his rare, beautiful giggles, we melt. This baby boy has our hearts, but he is going to be a handful! He is pretty amazing, and we love nothing more than watching him learn and grow everyday. 

We finally got our first real snow of the season today, so we can't wait to get Eli out on a sled! I think scooting around and pulling up are going to be some of Eli's next activities, and I've already started some baby-proofing. This holiday season is so special for our little family. Can't wait for our first Christmas together!

31 October 2014

Howdy Halloween

Yee Haw! There's a cute new sheriff in town. Our little cowboy rode in to our battalion trunk or treat last night, but we had to giddy-up on home after only 15 minutes because it was 24 degrees outside! Don't worry, he was layered and wore mittens.

Now, we aren't the type to spend lots of $$ on a baby outfit that is only worn for a day. And I'm sure my DIY bug will kick in hard when Eli is older. But this year, we had no real plans for his costume….Until I remembered something in one of our hand-me-down tubs! And Aunt Kari had given Eli these rootin-tootin' boots. So, I went out a couple of days ago and somehow found this perfect hat! I mean, it was pink, but nothing a little spray paint couldn't handle. Hubs even sacrificed a shoestring for a secure fit. And this costume is obviously not complete without a stand-alone stache. Best $7 get-up in the west!

I also found a funny saddle suit for Jessie for $2 to match. But, the package lied, and it was way too big for Eli's trusty steed.

The original plan was for Eli to be a tiny football player because he already had a jersey. I found this $3 referee shirt for Jessie at Target weeks ago, and Hubs has a whistle. So, since this pair wasn't equipped for the below freezing weather, this is what they wore to hand out candy on halloween night.

Also, just in case you think these two are perfect little models all the time, below is a much better representation of our photo shoots. I sort through quite a bit of these (below) to get any of those (above) haha! 

Happy Halloween!

30 October 2014

Breakfast Burritos

I'm not a morning gal. To the few of you who read my blog, this isn't news. And because my people are the most important, I'm always looking for short cuts with everything else. So, when my anti-a.m. self was met by motherhood, I needed a quick fix. 

Having a Baby + Breastfeeding = Waking Up Exhausted + Starving 
Solution?? Breakfast Burritos!!

I had purchased all the ingredients, but was putting off making these bad boys because I assumed it was going to be a long messy process. But I finally bit the burrito bullet and was surprised by how quickly I had breakfast for both Hubs and me for a whole week!

You will need:
1 carton (12) eggs
1 package of Jimmy Dean sausage
1 green pepper
1 bottle of salsa
1 bag of shredded cheese
12 tortillas

Basically, you can change/add to/omit any of the ingredients above. Use bacon instead of sausage, perhaps. Or add spinach and feta instead of green pepper and salsa. You can almost make these burritos any way you want. 
(We like our food spicy hot. I buy the hot sausage, the hot salsa, and I added cilantro, crushed red pepper, and Tabasco to the eggs.) 

Brown the sausage and add diced peppers. Put aside in a spare bowl. 

Scramble all 12 eggs in same pan that you used for the sausage and peppers. When eggs are done, add sausage and peppers back to the pan and mix. Let cool completely.
Next step is to stuff the burritos. I cut 12 foils and tore 12 paper towels. Layer on a plate in this order: one foil, one paper towel, one tortilla, add egg and sausage mix, then top with cheese and a healthy dose of salsa. (We omitted the cheese because Hubs had eaten it all in the fews days between the grocery run and making these.) 
Tip: fold in the sides first, as pictured. This theoretically keeps the stuffing in the tortilla. Then roll the burrito. Roll it up in the paper towel, then roll that up in the foil. The foil helps the burritos keep longer, (or so I read). This recipe can make 12 burritos. I stuck all of them in two freezer bags before freezing. The freezer bags are also a good way to separate and label the burritos if you make more than one ingredient list at a time.  
In the morning, take a burrito out of the freezer and unwrap the foil. Leave the burrito in the paper towel. Microwave for one minute. Turn over and heat another minute. Let sit one more minute before eating. That's it! Meat and eggs in three minutes! These burritos are pretty delicious, and they are totally Husband-Approved. It's a super convenient breakfast that had me feeling full all morning. I can make and eat them half-asleep with one hand. Plus, zero dishes in the sink! Could a nursing mama ask for more? Of course she could! But at least she will be happily full of a healthy-ish, hot breakfast. 

20 October 2014

5 Months Old

Eli is five months old today!

No doctor appointment this month. But our little guy is still…little. He is the same size he has been for a couple of months now, wearing the big 0-3 month clothes and the small 3-6 month clothes. But he moved up a size in diapers, so I'm pretty sure he is in a spurt of growing longer. I'm just hoping he learns how to sit up by himself before growing completely out of his baby bathtub. That might be a tall order though, because he is a little top heavy. He hasn't gotten much fatter, but his head keeps getting bigger. He is also growing more hair and has grown two teeth! It has been hard work, and he has had some major grumpster moments this month. But overall, he is a happy baby. We still offer a pacifier when he's really tired or grumpy. He'll gnaw on it a little, but usually doesn't want it, so I bought a few new teething toys that he likes better. When he's sleepy, he sucks his thumb. This month, he's mostly chewed on his hands and fingers. The amount of drool a teething baby produces is unbelievable. His giggles are still selective but more frequent. Most of the time they are at his dad. He thinks Hubs is hilarious! Jessie got him to giggle the other day too. It was so sweet. I'm thinking they are gonna be best buds. Eli is still talking and squealing about the same amount. His hand-eye coordination has developed quite a bit in the past month. He is able to reach out, pull objects towards him, and can get them in and out of his mouth easily if they are the right shape. He reaches for me when his dad is holding him and reaches for dad when I'm holding him. He likes to get ahold of those feet. He swings his arms and kicks his legs so hard when he gets excited. Eli isn't crawling yet but has the rolling thing down and is starting to scoot some. He always ends up in this one corner of the crib. Even though I lay him down on his back every time, he flips to his front almost immediately. He is starting to sleep a little bit better. He is still up at least once a night, sometimes more. He is so alert that he gets distracted during daytime meals and has to make up for it at night. But he is falling asleep easily, and I have finally found the formula for nap time, thank the LORD! I am still one tired momma, but it seems the four-month regression is starting to slow...maybe. I am loving this super cute age and watching Eli learn new stuff everyday!

I couldn't decide…some here's a couple more of this cutie:

19 October 2014

Matanuska Glacier

Yesterday, we loaded up and drove north. Walking on this glacier has been on our to-do list for months. Our first glimpse of this majestic ice lake was over one year ago on the last leg of our road-trip-move from Tok to Anchorage, and we learned it was accessible in shoes this summer. So, I've been checking the weather for the last few weekends, and we finally got a decently clear day before ice hit the roads. Hubs has wanted to go so badly, he opted out of watching the Bama vs Texas A&M game to go. The drive up through Palmer and into the mountains took us a little over an hour each way and is an adventure in itself. Jessie got sick on the bumpy dirt road off the main highway that offers the glacier access, but she rallied and had a blast exploring. A run-down gift shop manages the gate to the parking lot that overlooks the glacier. We trekked down through a bunch of wet sludge to a couple of picnic tables signifying that we were officially walking on a glacier. So cool…pun intended!