All posts by Melissa

Delirious about the Dwindling Diaper Duty

Well it’s finally Friday and I’m finally able to post on the most prominent focal point of the week;
Justice started Potty Training on Monday!! Yay!!!!!!!!
My sweet little beauty has been showing readiness signs for a couple of months now. First off, she started “telling” us when she was pooping when she was about 8-9 months old. Helpful. Cute. A little TMI sometimes sure, but it was the start of her realization of her bodily functions. She was workin on somethin’ there and it wasn’t just the gift in her diaper. Then, she started waking up with a dry diaper a couple of months ago. As long as she didn’t sit in her crib for too long after she woke up, she had a dry tooshie. So I’d undo her diaper cover, tuck the front of her dry prefold under her butt and tell her to go potty. And lo and behold, she would!!! :) Sure, it was 1st thing in the morning and she hadn’t peed in 11 or so hours so it was going to come out anyway, but still! She was starting to understand and I was over the moon!
She’s been quite consistant in this routine so Monday morning, we went to Babies R Us and got her a potty. No spectacular features. No singing. No characters on it. It’s got everything she needs. A place to get the hang of it, that just happens to be pretty and pink, then it converts to fitting on the BIG potty so she doesn’t fall through and the base becomes a step to get up there. It has an extension that holds a roll of toilet paper and a place to put flushable wipes. That’s it. Nothing fancy, but it’s all hers!! :) Then came the search for training pants. I knew that our new favorite store eco-POLITAN had a few different styles and brands as I’ve perused them twice in the last couple of weeks. I also knew that they were a little out of our price range for the time being. So, with potty in cart, I decided to see what BRU had. I was surprised to find that they had the classic Gerber training pants. And in 2 different styles no less! I was NOT surprised to find that the smallest size they offered was 2T (28-32lbs.). Justice is 24lbs. at most. I had had a feeling that this was going to be the case, but was still a little disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they carried classic “rubber pants”. And not only did they carry them, but they had them in a size that fit her better! Sweet! Ok, well, now we’re getting somewhere. I then debated between the regular, more panty like style trainer and the plastic shelled style. hmmm…….. I decided to try the regular panty like type and get a couple of “rubber pants” rather than spending the money on 2 different types. Plus, the “rubber pants” were cheaper than either of the other two, so just adding those was more cost effective. :) How very spend savvy of me! 😉
So, 2 packages of “Big girl training panties”, 1 package of “rubber pants”, 1 Big Girl Potty, Justice, Evan and I headed to the register where the lovely lady commented how very special and big Justice must be to be getting a potty and then came the inevitable……”How old is she?” The look of shock and mild disbelief was pretty expected when I replied with “17 months”. (I’ve gotten rather used to that look when asked the same question, although usually it’s related to how long her hair is.) The lady, whom I’m pretty sure has told me before that she is now a very happy grandma, was delighted. She commented on how wonderful that was and told Justice what a lovely girl she was and how proud of her we all were.
In to the truck we got and home we ventured. I immediately busted out the potty, relieved my daughter of her pants and diaper, plopped her down and waited. And waited….. And waited….. We talked about the potty, about peeing in the potty, about the box, etc…We had quite the conversation. We did NOT have peeing in the potty. Ok. No big deal!! It’s the very 1st time. And afterall, she IS only 17 months! So off she came and down for a nap she went. Buying a potty is exciting stuff you know?!
Mondays final potty tally was an impressive 3 times!!!!!! As was Tuesdays!! This girl is doin great!! Wednesdays total was 4 and Thursdays was an awe-inspiring 7 times!!! Her potty goes everywhere with us. To pick up Evan from school, to karate/work, to Chili’s…you name it!! Yes, I really really did take her potty into Chili’s with us last night (that explains why there haven’t been any recipe posts this week huh?!?!!!). It was in the box, which may or may not make it any less ‘weird’, but you bet I took it in! I am very dedicated to my daughters’ potty training success. Normally kids are attempting this around age 2 and they have a hard enough time fitting on “grown-up” potties. My little 24lb. 17 month old is at even more of a disadvantage so you better believe I’m going to do any and every thing I can to help her with this daunting lesson. I’m all about consistancy baby! One of the parents at karate saw me carrying the box out of the bathroom the other day and said, laughing, “You brought her potty?” and I said, “You bet!!! It’s all about consistancy!!” She laughed with me despite her obvious surprise, but hey, I want this to be as easy for Justice as it can be. Easier for Justice means easier for me in the grand scheme of things. And I’m DEFINITELY a big fan of that!!
So, that brings us to today. We had 2 potty successes this morning before she went down for her nap and I know that this afternoon will bring even more. I know that this will probably be a long process because while she is physically ready, she’s not quite old enough to really understand it all. Will she just start going over to her potty on her own? Probably not anytime soon. And you know what? I’m ok with that. But I’m willing to stick with her and take the time out of stuff that really isn’t nearly as important to make the trips with her to help her. Bring it on! This is precious time with my sweet little love. Watching her grow and learn. I wouldn’t trade it for the world…. 

Mo

Nachos!!

Nachos are probably one of the most looked forward to and now, rarest dish in our house.
Our “recipe” for nachos isn’t really much of one as it’s just a mash of whatever we happen to like and is all about being customized but I’ll give you our version. :)

Nachos!

1lb ground turkey (ground beef or shredded chicken would work great too!)
1/2 packet McCormick Cheesy Taco Seasoning mix (they also have original, mild, and hot)
1 pkg Knorr (formerly Lipton) Fiesta Sides Taco Rice
1 small jar (15oz) Tostitos Salsa Con Queso Medium
1 can Rosarita No Fat Green Chile & Lime Refried Beans
2 small cans sliced black olives
Shredded cheese as you like
1 bag chips of your choice (we love mixing Tostitos Artisan Recipes Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Tortilla Chips with some Mission Tortilla chips Tortilla Triangles) :)
Sour Cream
Salsa of your choice

Cook ground turkey with 1/2 packet Taco seasoning as directed. While meat is cooking, prepare rice according to package directions. Empty can of beans into microwave safe bowl and add some shredded cheese if you like. Microwave for 1 minute, stirring 1/2 way through. Remove lid from queso jar and microwave for 1 minute. Stir, heat further if needed. Layer all ingredients according to taste.
This recipe makes plenty for 4 hungry adults usually with a little leftovers for a lunch. I doubled everything and fed 8 adults easily. :)

I hope you try this. Change it, add to it, but most of all, I hope you enjoy it!!
Mo

Oh…where to begin??? The Great Cloth Diaper Change and Easter…amongst others.. ;)

So my last post was almost a full week ago! I’m so sorry for the long break!! It’s been a very full week. Thursday I decided that I needed to take the day to just be with my little love. Get some cleaning done for the in-laws arriving. Originally they were supposed to come in on Friday, but the state of New Mexico couldn’t possibly part with any employees on Good Friday so Dominic’s dad had to work. So they came up Saturday afternoon/evening.
Saturday morning was the Great Cloth Diaper Change that we were enthusiastic participants in. A world wide organized and synchronized event to set a Guiness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed at the same time around the world, and also to promote cloth diapering. I was soo excited! :) Dominic just laughed at me, but he was still right there with me! 😉 It was fun. Justice got her picture taken quite a bit, we got a goody bag with some cool coupons and a couple free samples. And hey, we got free lunch too! The whole thing was put on by one of our favorite new stores, eco-POLITAN (http://www.eco-politan.com/) with a yummy lunch sponsored by Noodles & Co.. Delish! :) There was only one snag to the whole morning….we managed to discover that Justice is allergic to walnuts. Dominic brought me a little yummy mini-muffin that had walnuts on/in it. I made sure to keep Justice away from it so that it didn’t get into her hands or mouth, but I had been eating it with my fingers. Well, when we got in to the “official diaper changing area” I took off her clothes to get ready for the big event. About 15 seconds later, I discovered a rash on her right arm and all underneath it onto her chest and tummy….you know…where I had been holding on to her while I undressed her….. The muffin was the only thing that wasn’t ours that I had my hands on and she was dressed up until then… Needless to say, this has done nothing to quell my paranoia. I’m even more worried about peanuts now, even though it’s less common to have an allergy to tree nuts AND peanuts but given the extent of the reaction just from light, BRIEF contact….~sigh~ I gave her Benadryl and she took a 3 hour nap, but the rash was still visible and raised. Even 36 hours later, it was still there. BARELY, but it had not completely gone… I tell ya….this little girl is gonna kill me!! 😉 <3 But I'm counting down the days.... Our insurance goes into effect on the 1st (which is a sunday) so you better believe that Monday I'm calling the doctor's office 1st thing and making an appt for a new patient visit to get a referral for an allergist....ASAP!! As much as I'm REALLY not wanting to put my poor sweet little love through the torture, I can't wait to finally stop shopping/cooking/eating in FEAR. Afterall, “knowing is half the battle”!! hehehe

We had dinner with Dominic’s parents and grandma Saturday night. Aside from the fear that the peanuts all around us was exacerbating, Texas Roadhouse was delicious and it was a great evening with the ‘rents. :)

Easter sunday was quite lovely. The kids eyes lit up at the sight of their baskets (of which I of course, forgot to take a picture). Breakfast for the littl’n came 1st, then on to the egg hunt. :) This was Justice’s 1st. After the 2nd or 3rd egg that she found she really got the hang of it and was very excited! Then it was off to brunch with the ‘rents, grandma, and one of Dominic’s aunts and her family. It was quite nice.
The rest of the day held naps for almost all of us and then a relaxed visit from the ‘rents and grandma here at our place. :) It was a wonderful visit. <3 I’ll be posting Fridays’ “recipe” for Nachos next. It was the only time this weekend that I actually cooked so it’s the only thing I’ve got to post for now…That should change later this week….. It will…… at some point… 😉
Have a great rest of the week!!
Mo

Oh my goodness…

What a long, crazy, and hectic week it’s been and it’s only Wednesday!
There have been a few issues to take center stage this week and unfortunately the blog and the MO Creations fb page have been a little neglected. My apologies to you if you’ve been waiting on new recipes this week. I actually went recipe hunting today for a little while and so I definitely have several awaiting trial and exposure!!! I originally went searching for new recipes today specifically to find a couple of delicious, at least mildly impressive meals for this weekend. Dominic’s parents and Grandma are coming up this weekend from NM and I’ll be cooking Saturday and Sunday night. For 8!!! Holy visiting in-laws Batman!!!
I’ve actually only cooked twice this week. Sundays infamous Beef Ravioli with Lemon Dressing and Thyme Buttered Carrots and then again on Monday when we had our (also infamous) Kraft Homestyle Mac n’ Cheese with ground turkey. Me and my wildly creative cooking huh??! Last night we had Chicken with Cheesy Mash Topping on the plan but alas, like many nights lately, I was working at karate quite late and there just wasn’t time to make a full dinner once home. So off to Chili’s we went.. LOL  Tonight had the delicious and all around popular Tomato Free Meatloaf. I had every intention of making this one!! It’s something that I know Justice will eat! But…….shockingly……I was at karate longer than planned and just didn’t have time to make it. Tonight we all “scrounged it”. Salmon crescents, fresh mac n cheese, leftover Chili’s, leftover Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole, and some mushroom soup topped us off this evening. That’s us…..ever exciting! So, the meatloaf gets transferred to tomorrow night, I’ll scratch the Cheesy chicken mash thing for this week and then….Friday gives us NACHOS!!! These are probably THE most popular meal in this house and since I’ve gotten on this ‘new recipe, cook most nights’ kick, we haven’t had them. Main reason being Justice can’t have them. (Sharp chips that she doesn’t always chew well and chokes on, seasoned meat and a yummy queso that has many of Justice’s forbidden foods.) I’m hoping that I can coerce her into eating the rest of the dinner that she didn’t eat tonight. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but not getting my hopes up… And yes, I’ll be sure to post the ‘recipe’ for our Nachos.
I think I’m heading off to bed now. I just wanted to be sure and post a little “sumpin sumpin” to let you know that yes, we’re still here and alive (although Evan’s status is precarious and may change soon).
Givin ya some mid week love and hoping to gain, or re-gain, some life-saving patience and calm…
Enjoy the rest of your week and I’ll post again soon!
Mo

This is fancy schmancy restaurant food!

Tonight was great!!! Tonight’s meal was the ‘didn’t get made cuz we ordered pizza’ dinner from Friday. I know……you’re all shocked!!!! 😉 Well I decided, in part to get the big bag out of the freezer, to make it tonight. And to quote Senor SkippyJon Jones “Yip Yippee Yippito!” Aaaaannnnnndddddd…….get ready for it……I threw in a recipe of my very own as a side dish!! Talk about a bold night..
Dinner this evening consisted of':
Beef Ravioli with Lemon Dressing and Thyme Buttered Carrots
I found the ravioli recipe on http://www.mealsforyou.com/ (again, please try to contain your surprise). The carrots were just a whim.
But here’s the most unbelievable thing yet…………………………MY CAMERA’S WORKING AGAIN!!!!!! You actually get pictures this go round……..will wonders never cease?! 😉
So…without further ado, I present…the recipes. :)

Easy Beef Ravioli with Lemon Dressing
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 10 min. (but the prep can be done WHILE you’re cooking so really, it only takes as long as it takes the ravioli to cook!)
1 lb. beef ravioli
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. seasoned pepper
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced (I just sliced until it looked like enough…)
14 ounces canned pimientos, drained, sliced (I omitted)1/3 cup black olives, sliced
1/3 cup small fresh oregano leaves (I omitted-well, scratch that, I didn’t see it on the list until later…)
Cook ravioli in a large pan of boiling water 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain. Combine next 5 ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. (You can do this while the pasta is cooking) Combine ravioli and last 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add dressing and toss. (I mix in the pasta cooking pan. I serve everyone from the stove-less dishes!)

The Lemon dressing all mixed up

Thyme Buttered Carrots
1 1/2lb baby carrots
4 tbsp butter
Thyme
Shredded Parmesan to top
Place 3/4 inch of water in bottom of sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add carrots and cover, cooking until carrots are tender. Drain water. Replace on heat and add butter and sprinkle thyme over both ingredients. Cover. Stir well to cover all carrots with butter before serving. Sprinkle parmesan over top (if desired).



Ta daaaaa!

 This dinner is one that I am quite proud of. It seemed very hoity toity restaurant menu style but was Super easy and delicious. Dominic isn’t a big fan of sour or tart flavors and thought that this was just a little too lemony/tart for a large helping or 2nds but enjoyed what he had. It was Nick’s idea to add the parmesan to the carrots and he was right on the money. It complemented beautifully.
So whadya know?! Not only did I pair foods on my own, I even came up with one of them all by my lonesome (with a great suggestion from Nick to top it off)!! Put this together with my camera coming back from the land of the dead and this was pretty much a perfect dinner! :)
This is a full endorsement to try this at your house and of course, let me know how it fares.
Enjoy-
Mo

Hand washing experiment completed

I just wanted to let you guys know that we (finally!) did my little hand-washing/germ viewing experiment today. It was messy but I think it might have helped. I actually recruited everyone in the house but Justice to participate. I covered the table with a trashbag and had everyone hold one hand over it while I sprayed their hand lightly with cooking spray. Then I dusted (more like dumped in a couple of cases) that hand with “germs” (which happened to be black embossing powder in this case [at least it’s getting used for good?!?]). Then we took turns shaking each others ‘clean’ hands. I had Evan go wash his hands with warm water and soap 1st. When he was done, I examined his hands with him. There was still quite a bit of black scattered in the cracks and crevices. I told him that since that was how he normally washed his hands he was still leaving quite a few germs. He washed them again and dried thoroughly. Clean this time! The guys and I repeated this and both guys had traces left after the 1st washing…tsk tsk. Being a former scrub tech, I almost scrub skin off normally when washing, and not to boast, but my hands were clean the 1st time!! 😉
So-I hope that this helped Evan ‘see’ what happens with germs and how much they transfer and how important it REALLY is to wash your hands thoroughly ALL the time.
Give it a try in your house (glitter, pepper, or cinnamon would work too) and let me know how it goes!
Thinking clean thoughts-
Mo

But I’ve been excited about these all week!!!!

Hey there!
Well, it’s late Sunday night and here come the posts for this past week… 😉
So Saturday was Egg Roll day. I was looking forward to this idea all week. While perusing recipes and magazines and such I came up with an idea to do homemade egg rolls. Put a little of this, a little of that, suited just to our tastes and Yay! a fun meal and wayyy cheaper than going out for them right?! Right! Mostly…..
I have a fryer and certainly could have fried them, traditional style, but I wanted to go the healthier route and found a few very different recipes online that told me what temp to throw them in the oven to bake them. Great idea Mo! Thanks! If only it worked out that way… Don’t get me wrong-they were delicious…if you could get through the super hardened skin without breaking a tooth. Baking was not the right course… I’ll give you the “recipe”, if you can call it that, and you can do with it what you will. …..   I just don’t suggest baking them….

1 pkg (16) Egg roll wrappers
2 small zucchini-peeled and shredded
1/2 lb carrots-shredded
10-12 whole water chestnuts-diced (or just pay more attention than I did and buy the pre-cut stuff!)
2 chicken breasts-cooked then shredded (I cooked them with soy sauce for flavor)
4 oz Bean sprouts
-upon searching I found suggestions for celery, cabbage (traditionally used), onion, fresh ginger, and green peppers.
I also used “Gourmet Garden Lemon Grass Herb Blend” found in the same section as the egg roll wrappers and various cold stored herbs. (It comes in a squeeze tube)
Dipping sauces of your choice (we used a “spring roll dipping sauce” and soy sauce)

I layered the ingredients differently in almost each roll and followed the ‘rolling’ instructions on the package of wrappers. I lighty covered my Pampered Chef Baking Stone with cooking spray (the dough can be sticky) and then sprayed the rolls lightly before putting them in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. I don’t think less time would have made them any softer though. Dominic was the only one who was a big fan of these and has expressed a desire to have them again. When I said that I would try frying them next time, Nick said he would certainly try them, as will I. Evan was just not a fan of the ingredients (even though he likes all but the bean sprouts on their own-that’s an 8 year old boy for ya!).
So. There you have it. Certainly not a complete failure, but not a raving success either. I’m not going to let this get me down though. We’ll try again…eventually…and you can rest assured (because I know you were worried) that I will let you know how attempt #2 plays out.
That’s it for Egg roll night-
I do hope you try them and enjoy (but if you bake them I’m telling your dentist you were given fair warning!)
Mo

Plan? Sure, I made a plan. Did I follow it?? Why on earth would I do that?!

A week or two ago, I found on one of my fave resources http://mealplanningmommies.blogspot.com/ , a cute printable week long meal plan. It’s got a great little graphic on it and has space for all 3 major daily meals for 7 days. I was excited that I didn’t have to make one and that I had something other than my handy little notebook to keep track of these things on. Wayyy better than just writing which recipes to do for the week and then figuring out which one got made which day based on how I was feeling at the last minute…. It was. Really. So I did the 1st weeks’ plan and stuck to it each day. Then on to week 2. Ha Ha Ha!!! I think 5 of the 7 meals planned were made. One night I was just too tired to stand in the kitchen and do anything besides stare in the fridge so we got to ‘scrounge it’ and the other I’m pretty sure we went out. Couldn’t begin to tell you where (that WAS longer ago than yesterday). But this week…this week was going to be better. It was! I swear!
Let’s see…day 1 was grocery day and I did a repeat of an early find, Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole. (mmmmmm……..) one day followed through with, 6 more to go….
Day 2 (Monday) and it was….”I don’t wanna go home and make dinner!!!” By the way..it happened to be a recipe that had already been booted of the list/plan at least twice…
Day 3 was the Steak & zucchini fettuccine. Delicious-ness! :) (twice in 3 days isn’t tooo bad…)
Day 4 was a repeat of a past try-Baked Chicken Nuggets (so yummy and easy!) (woo hoo! 2 nights in a row even!)
Day 5 was last night and………be ready for it………We went out!!!!! See what happens to a girls’ plan when a friend mentions IHOP?! Ridiculous. Seriously. At least we weren’t missing anything new and potentially spectacular. It was our Kraft Homestyle Mac n’ Cheese with ground turkey night. We can do that anytime and it’s a given success.
That brings us to tonight. The plan has another newby, Beef Ravioli w/Lemon Dressing. Yeah….sounds delicious, we’ll see if it happens huh?! We could do last nights mac n cheese or maybe ACTUALLY do what’s planned for…or we may do tomorrow’s plan…who knows?!
I still absolutely stand by planning out a weeks worth of meals and I will continue to do it, but I’m realistic. We’re a busy family. Between school, the guys’ work, karate (for both Evan and I not to mention my working there too), errands, blogging, laundry, naps, barrette making, so forth and so on forever and ever, it just doesn’t always work out….I’m ok with that. The important stuff is covered. We all eat dinner together about 95% of the time and that’s what matters. Sometimes, sure, we spend more than we should on meals out, but…we’re fed, we’re healthy, and we’re happy. And most days, all at the same time!
I’m good with that…

The 1st non-food post…

So, I’ve recently discovered that Evan is neglecting washing his hands. It’s quite disconcerting considering he used to be so good at it. I never had to tell him or remind him. As a matter of fact, when Justice was still little, he was a little handwashing nazi. He asked, almost as frequently as Dominic, if you had washed your hands in regards to handling Justice. Now however….things are not nearly as disciplined. After having several discussions with him and letting him know that a friends’ daughter was recently bathroom ridden after contracting Rotavirus from poor or no handwashing at school, I’ve decided to try an experiment in hopes that seeing something with his own two eyes will help drive the point home.
So, tommorrow’s experiment will consist of;
me lightly spraying my hand with cooking spray then sprinkling either glitter or pepper. I will shake Evan’s hand to show transference then have him wash his hands with soap but not dry them. There will still be glitter/pepper on his hands. Then I’ll have him dry them and see what’s left.
I hope that this will be a good visual for him and that it helps him to revert back to his old healthy habits.
Please feel free to try this experiment in your house regardless of the level of discipline regarding hand washing, if only to reinforce the necessity and benefits.

Steak & Zucchini Fettuccine

Wednesday is here. It’s gloomy outside and I’m sitting with a delicious cup of peppermint hot cocoa as I bring you Tuesdays dinner. We had Steak & Zucchini Fettuccine. Normally I’m not a fan of pasta without some kind of sauce, but this was quite yummy. This is another http://www.mealsforyou.com/ find.

Fettuccine with Steak and Zucchini
Prep: 10 min, Cook: 15 min.
1 lb. fettuccine or other pasta
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 lb. onions, thinly sliced (we’re not big on onions so I used a few shakes of dried minced)4 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 lb. zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp. basil, or 1/3 cup fresh, chopped
1 lb. round steaks or top sirloin, thinly sliced across the grain (I used just over 1lb of stir-fry beef)1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used about 1/2 cup)

Cook fettuccine in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain. Return pasta to saucepan. Toss with butter and keep warm. Heat oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sauté onions 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and zucchini and continue to sauté another 4-5 minutes or until zucchini softens. Stir in basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer vegetables to a platter and keep warm. Add steak slices to skillet and sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until meat is just cooked throughout. Combine vegetables, meat and pasta in a serving bowl. Serve with Parmesan.

One of the comments was that the meat was too tough and it should be tried with chicken or just by itself. The rest of the family enjoyed the steak (not often used in our house) and thought that it was quite good the way it was.
I hope that you try this and enjoy it, in whatever incarnation you choose. :)
Mo