I am a Minivan Mom

I don’t really have much to post today, however it’s been over a week since my last post and darnit! I’m going to keep this New Years Resolution!!!

I suppose I can update everyone on how some of my resolutions have been going.

Here’s a brief overview.

1. Well… I blogged twice last week! That’s more than once a week! Go me! And today I’m staying on track as well.

2. Meal planning: I planned every day last week, but didn’t follow through 100%. Things came up or I’d run out of cheese and couldn’t get to the store because I didn’t have a vehicle, so that meal would be postponed until the next day.

3. No yelling: We’ve been better about this. We are by no means perfect and some days it’s really, really hard. Especially when you have children who cry over spilled water (that’s right, not even milk – water!) But we’re working on it.

4. Early to Bed/Early to Rise: Well…. some nights have been better than others. The first few days I was good about being in bed by 12:30. Now it’s back to an average of about 1:30, but usually before 2 am. I need to keep working at it.!

In other news, our ear infection free household no longer has that status. The Little One was screaming in agony this past week. I thought she was just fighting sleep, she was tired and had a drippy nose. I kept asking her if each part of her body hurt and she kept telling me “No!”

Sick Baby

The Little One the day before I took her to the doctor and was diagnosed with a double ear infection. ūüė¶

By the third day, when suddenly her fever spiked and she was able to communicate what hurt, I said enough is enough. As stated above, I didn’t have my own vehicle. My car was totaled in November when the CV Joint broke while turning onto the highway. (Real fun spot to have your car die!) ¬†(Not So Fun Fact! That was also the day I got into my first ever car accident! Hitting black ice and rear ending an SUV with The Husband’s car! Needless to say, I was afraid of driving for a good 4 days!)

Anyway, I have the best neighbors and my good friend/neighbor down the road said I could borrow her van. I had the fun task of pushing the stroller through a foot of snow to get to her house a few doors down, but we made it and I got to practice driving a minivan. Got The Little One to the doctor and sure enough, double ear infection. The right ear had ruptured and had puss inside, the left was just read. Ten days of antibiotics orally three times per day and ear drops in the right ear twice per day. By day 2 she was already feeling much better!

Not So Sick Baby

After about 4 days of meds she was feeling MUCH better! (She was actually feeling much better when she woke up on day 2 after only 2 doses of meds!)

So, the conclusion of the above, I suppose, is that I need my own vehicle. The Husband and I agreed to start looking about a month ago, looking for a good deal, and a good deal I found! Got a great blue Dodge Grand Caravan SXT for under 3K from a very nice man. We found it using CarSoup.com, though he was also listed on CraigsList.

Blue Steel

Blue Steel

Here she is! “Blue Steel” is what I’m naming her. Or “Buh-KAWWW!” (like the sound a chicken makes! – Because The Husband and I like to name our cars based on the letters on the license plate. I previously owned Jibble and Pixed. The Husband currently owns Vixy.)

So… I’m actually super excited to own this minivan. I know that it was super well taken care of for the first 5 years of it’s life – thanks CarFax! – and the guy who sold i to me (second owner) seems like ¬†a very honest guy and seems to have taken pretty good care of it.

My only issue with minivans is the lack of ability to check the blind spot! I’m a shoulder checker! I can’t do that in this van! I’m considering getting a blind spot mirror to attach to my drivers side mirror. Hopefully very, very soon!

So there you have it. An update on me and mine. It’s not food, but it will do. Hopefully next week I’ll food blog again!

Black Bean Tortilla Bake

Black Bean Tortilla Bake

Black Bean Tortilla Bake

I’m not big on Mexican food but a while back I was looking for recipes that were somewhat healthy and contained protein that was not meat. The perfect answer? Beans! Apparently beans are super good to eat. Check this out.

I found this recipe on Food.com and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was!

Bonus? It’s¬†super easy to make! Essentially you’re making your own salsa, then adding beans to it. To assemble you’re basically making a lasagna, except you’re layering tortillas, cheese, bean salsa, more cheese, repeat.

DOUBLE BONUS: You can make a couple of these at a time and freeze one for later. The photos in this post were taken while I was making a bunch for my meal swap group.

Here’s what you need to make this the way I make it:

INGREDIENTS

  • ¬†1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomato (or 1 8 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 16 oz can black beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • salt & pepper
  • soft corn tortillas (number will vary based on size of baking pan, I used maybe 8 per pan, you can use more or less)
  • 8 oz Mexican blend cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350* F
2. Spray large skillet with cooking spray
3. Add onion, garlic, tomato, green onion, cumin & chili powder
4. Cook on medium heat until onion is tender.
5. Add tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes more.
6. Stir in beans, cilantro, salt & pepper (to taste)

As you can see, I’m a little OCD about the tortillas covering every visible square inch of the pan. I ripped/cut the tortillas but that’s optional.

7. Spray a 9 inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
8. Layer bottom with tortillas, cheese, bean salsa, more cheese
9. Repeat.
10. End with cheese on top of salsa mixture.
11. Bake for 20 minutes, covered, then 10 minutes uncovered or until cheese is bubbly.

 

The above directions are for a smaller tray than my photos. To make a larger pan like I did in the photos, simply double the recipe. Honestly, I just eyeball it.

Enjoy!

New Years Resolutions

Resolutions

© gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the past I’ve made New Years Resolutions but I’ve never stuck with them. For one reason or another they became good intentions that never came to pass.

Last year I resolved to start working out. It was awesome, I was going to the gym about 3 times per week… and then our insurance changed with my husbands new job and the gym membership was no longer something they reimbursed me for. Without the extra $20 laying around, the gym became a thing of the past. I still miss my Body Pump class.

Technically I could work out at home. My resolution for 2012 was to use my Wii Fit every day. That occurred for maybe a week? I just don’t feel motivated to work out at home.

So this year, out with the old resolutions and in with the new. New resolutions for a new and improved me. They’re more like goals.

1. Go to Bed Earlier at Night / Get Up Earlier in the Morning.
I’m a night owl and don’t feel fully awake until noon. I also work from home which means during the school year I have a two year old around the house and in the summer a six year old as well. Starting soon I will probably be taking on part-time babysitting a friends four month old during the week. Finding time to work between taking care of the kids can be tricky so I rely on the evenings/late night to get my work done.

2. Set Work Goals.
This goes along with what I sad above. I only have limited time to get my work done so I need to be better about staying away from Facebook and Pinterest and the rest of the Internet Demons and prioritizing my work and rewarding myself with quick Facebook breaks.

In addition to my horrible time management skills, much of my work doesn’t have a definite time table. There’s a general time frame that it needs to be done, but I need to take the time to just do it without waiting until the last minute. My work is also varied. For those who don’t know, I manage multiple websites which involves listing books, new book covers, authors, etc. I need to get that info up as soon as I receive it so I’m not scrambling at the last minute. I also design book covers, I need to get those done ASAP as well, preferably working a couple months ahead of where I should be. As part of my job I also format books for Kindle. I’ve already made a change with that and now I make sure Kindle files (as well as epubs) are ready for release the same day as the print book and the PDF file on our website. The problem is that I still have a big backlog of books to get done in addition to the new ones.

3. Finish the First Draft of my Novel.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it on this blog or not (I know I mentioned on my book review blog) but I participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) in 2013 and won! This means that I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. Pretty amazing since I’ve never written past 14,000 words on one story. ¬†However, despite having written 50,000 words to one story, it still doesn’t have an ending. Before the year is through I will have an ending to my story and be starting the process of the second draft. ¬†This is another goal that ties into #2 – set goals. I’ve got to set aside time to sit down and write.

4. Consistently Make Weekly Meal Plans.
I think weekly meal planning is awesome and more people should do it. Myself included. I do well one week, then utterly fail the next week. It’s the sitting down and forcing myself to figure out what to make that kills me. Then sticking to it throughout the week. I’m going to try to plan a couple weeks out so that I have some leeway. Then, after work on the weekends I’ll buy what I need for the week and if I realize I don’t have an ingredient, I’ll have The Husband bring it home after work. (I bet I haven’t mentioned the fact that my car died so we are now a one vehicle family! We’re trying to hold out until tax time to purchase a mini-van. I’ve got my eye on the Honda Odyssey! But we’ll see.)

5. Blog Once a Week.
I am the first to admit that I’m a terrible blogger. Believe me, I take photos of every meal I make with the intention of blogging them later. Alas… later rarely comes. I get caught up in other things and later continues to be later. So, in 2014 I vow to blog once per week. Either on this blog or my book review blog.

6. Be More Consistent with the Kids.
Everyone says consistency is the key with kids but for me it’s hard. I am going to try to make a daily schedule that says at this time we do this, at this time we do that. Hopefully, with a little bit of time, the routine will be second nature for all parties involved. Right now the only thing I’m pretty consistent with is that as soon as The Big One gets home from school she has to do her homework.

7. Keep a Log of The Big One’s Puking.
OK, this is a weird one, I know, but hear me out. My daughter will be 7 this spring and for most of her life she’s been a puker. Long car ride? Puke. Upset that Mommy is going to the doctor? Puke. Excited to sleepover at a friends house? You guessed it. Puke.

My goal with this is to keep a detailed log of all of these incidents including how the weather was, what she had eaten, how she was feeling before she puked, etc. Try to find a way to get a handle on this. Already we’ve had two incidents – New Years Eve and today. I think today is probably a real case of the flu, but my guess was that New Years Eve was emotionally triggered, she was going to spend the night at Grandma’s house.

8. Yell Less, Talk it Out More.
I hate to admit it, but The Husband and I are both yellers. When we get to¬†that point, it’s just easier for us to let it all out and yell at the kids. I’m hoping that #1 will help me with this, getting more sleep and all, but it breaks my heart to know what this is doing to my children and being unable to stop myself.

I told The Big One that if Mommy or Daddy yell at her, she needs to tell us, “Please don’t yell” to remind us that this is not the right way. I also had her make a resolution to cry less and instead to take a deep breath and tell us why she’s upset instead of going right to tears. Her crying at the drop of a hat is probably our number one yell trigger, it usually begins with, “STOP CRYING OVER EVERY LITTLE THING!” But it’s a two way street. We’ve all got to make the effort to get this in check and I think we’ll all be happier for it.

So there you have it. My New Years Resolutions/Goals.

Have you made any resolutions for 2014? Have you stuck to your resolutions in the past? If so, what have you found to help you keep your resolutions?