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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Taziki's Salad

This is one of my favorite dishes at a Greek restaurant here in Birmingham. My sweet friend Celeste somehow found the recipe and sent it my way. I've already made it once...there are a good many ingredients, but once you've made it...you can leave the salad dressing mixed up in a container to use later. It's a yummy meal and very filling. This recipe makes a ton so you could probably cut it in half.


Taziki's Salad

3 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 T shallot
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
Juice from one lemon
1 T dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 C blended olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

6 C mixed lettuce
1 1/2 lb penne pasta, cooked
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
6 boneless skinless chicken breast (grilled & cubed)
3 tomatoes seeded & diced
1 handful fresh basil

vinaigrette:
Mix thyme, shallots, balsamic vinegar, lemon, sugar, mustard. Slowly whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note: you can add a couple tsp of mayo and cut olive oil in half (makes it a little creamier and closer to the real taziki's dressing.

Place 1 C mixed lettuce on a plate. Toss cooked pasta and chicken with vinaigrette. Keep warm.
Spoon approximately 2-3 C pasta and chicken onto lettuce; top with diced tomato, feta and basil.






Monday, August 29, 2011

Three Month Pics

Briggs is 3 months old...can't believe it! Everybody always asks who he looks like...thought we would put our 3 month pics next to his and let you decide. See below:

This is Justin back in 1981...cutie pie


Briggs 3 month...tried to get a similar pose as his daddy :)


Iris at 3 months...I know, it's sad...I didn't have hair until I was TWO!


Briggs at 3 months...similar pose.


I'm trying not to be too biased, but I'm thinking he looks a lot like his mommy. He definitely has some of Justin in him too...so I guess my overall vote/impression...he is a good blend of both of us :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nursing Group

I have mentioned the nursing group I attend in a prior post...but wanted to elaborate a bit on why we go and what we do there. Our first time at this group was when Briggs was 3 weeks old. I was having some nursing issues (I won't go into too many details b/c not everybody wants to hear about breasts, nipples, and latching...but if you have questions about it, email me).

These groups are sponsored by Brookwood Hospital at different locations in the community. The one Briggs and I attend most often is on Tuesdays at First Baptist Trussville. I'm not gonna lie...my first time I was pretty nervous b/c I didn't know what to expect...but that fear quickly went away. At every group there is a lactation nurse from Brookwood hospital present to provide any assistance and advice you may need. You start out by coming in, stripping your baby down to their diaper and weigh them on the scale the lactation nurse provides....as seen below (which my baby wasn't too happy in this picture...but he usually lays there all cute and sweet):


Then you feed your baby. If you nurse on both sides, you feed one side and weigh them...the difference from your initial weight is how much milk they took in. Then you feed them on the other side and weigh...you do the math and get their total intake at a feeding. If you're nursing, you don't know how much your baby is taking in, so it helps you keep a check on their weight and how much to give them in a bottle if you need to give them one. Below is our second weigh in...much calmer :) At our group yesterday, Briggs started out at 12 pounds 14 ounces and ended up at 13-3...grand total..5 ounces of intake.


I mentioned earlier that we were having some nursing issues which is why Briggs and I initially started attending. Connie, the lady in the picture below (far right) discovered on our first visit that Briggs had a short frenulum (aka tongue-tied). It's apparently a lot more common than I realized. I vaguely remember learning about it in grad school and that it can cause speech problems if it's severe. Well I have also learned first hand, that it can cause nursing problems.

Anyway, it was frustrating to me that we discovered it at week three when we had already seen lactation multiple times at St. Vincent's Hospital, even a private consultation, and two different pediatricians. It wasn't a severe case, but it was causing some pretty significant nursing issues. Now don't hear me saying we don't LOVE LOVE LOVE St. Vincent's hospital. Because we absolutely do and I can't say enough good things about their facility and nursing staff, but I was disappointed in my experience with lactation and getting Briggs' problem resolved. Brookwood Lactation has been our saving grace though. They have helped to change mine and Briggs whole nursing experience through the FREE support groups they offer in the community.

For Briggs, we had to get his frenulum clipped at Pediatrics ENT. It wasn't pleasant but a circumcision is 100x worse and from the research I did, if it's not addressed early (like in the first 6 months) then they have to sedate your baby....no thank you! I'm one of those moms who really wanted to nurse my baby if possible...so in the interum of getting Briggs nursing issue corrected...I was nursing him with a few different devices (again..email me if you have questions), pumping, and then feeding him a bottle of breastmilk after he nursed for 40 minutes! Yeah, I know...it was pretty hideous, but I have had a great milk supply the whole time, so if there was a chance we could work it all out, I was determined to do it. I kept setting goals for myself..if we could make it to 1 month with seeing progress, we would try to make it 6 weeks, then 8 weeks...finally at 9 weeks, everything just clicked and I was finally able to just nurse my baby. We have cut our feeding time from 1.5 hrs to 20 minutes!!!! Heck yeah!

The only problem now...nursing is going so good...and even though the kid was on a bottle for over half his life...now he doesn't want to take one. We have tried all the tricks...different nipples, different positions, different everything and he won't do it. I'm not looking forward to his two days a week at Mother's Day Out, which starts in two weeks. I've been up there lots to talk to his teachers about it...they seem to think it will all be fine...I'll report back on that one :)

Below you will see a picture of me and Briggs with all our new friends. Leslie and Elijah (left), Noel and Bradleigh (right) and Connie (far right). This has been such a great experience....we highly recommend going to these groups. Also, it's not just a place for moms who are having nursing issues. There are lots of moms who just come to chat with other moms and get a weight check on their babies. It's just nice to meet new people, learn tips on being a mommy and what works for other babies and mommies...it's been fun and I'm going to miss them when Briggs starts MDO.





Tasty Tuesday - Appetizer

I don't really know what to call this recipe...which really isn't a recipe, but it is a yummy way I have used some of my herbs. This can be used as an appetizer or just a snack.


mozzarella cheese (you can use a whole piece and slice it yourself or my mom has found it in little balls the size of your grape tomatoes)
grape tomatoes cut in half
2-3 fresh basil leaves chopped up
sprinkle with balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


Looks a little something like this:




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Herb Garden

My neighbor, Ms. Timmie, has recently inspired me to become more organic. I have to admit, I have wanted to do an herb garden for a while but I haven't had the time to learn about it or the drive. Well, my neighbor across the street has an herb and vegetable garden. She has been sharing her veggies with me over the past few weeks and in conversation, I learned about her herbs. She offered to share hers with me (she has hers in the ground, so she let me come dig up a few bulbs to start my own. I wanted to share with yall how it went and a little bit of the process.

These are the herbs at Ms. Timmie's house. Some of them grow pretty big if you have them in the ground and she has hers mixed in with her landscape...which is neat. In this picture there is dill, parsley and chives mixed in with some bushes. If you can't pick them out...don't worry, I couldn't either until Ms. Timmie came along :)

The dirt at our house (in our flower beds) is really rocky and hard. So, the cheapest and easiest way to start an herb garden here is in pots. I had some pots with petunias in them. They were getting really ratty looking with only a few blooms, so I decided to sacrifice the petunias for the herbs. All you need is some potting soil (with miracle grow in it works best) and a spade.

I should have done a better job taking pics of the actual transplant process but I was in a hurry b/c this was done during Briggs nap time, so I was on a tight time schedule. Anyway, the final product looks a little like this...

Note: I already had those potted plants/flowers you see in the picture to the left. The three pots with herbs blend right in. The plants in this picture are right outside my back door so I can just step out there and pick what I need to cook with. In the herb pots (to the right of the picture) I have thyme, mint and tarragon seeds.


Here is the other pot that is also in the back of my house. It has chives, parsley and basil. All I did to transplant these herbs is...dig up a little section of the already matured herbs at my neighbors house, stick them in the pots of dirt and water them. From what I hear, that's all you have to do...and keep them watered of course.


We will see how all this goes...but I'm personally pumped at my project and I can't wait to start using all my herbs. The best part about this project is how inexpensive it is...I had the pots and potting soil already and then got the herbs for free. (the seeds are super cheap if you had to go that route). It's been stressing me a little leading up to this project b/c I have no idea how to even use herbs. I mean like how to pick them, cut them up and cook with them...but thankfully Ms. Timmie knows. She has helped teach me a lot.

Next project...vegetable garden. I'm working on finding some scrap wood to build a planter box and get started with a fall/winter garden if I can get it together in time..if not, then I'll have it all ready for the spring crop. Can't wait for that! More to come as I progress on that project. But until then..happy herb cooking.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Favorite Pics of Briggs

Some of these pictures have been on facebook I think...but I'm just sitting here watching my baby sleep in his swing and was thinking about how stinkin' cute he is...I decided to pull a few of my favorite pics of him recently and put them into one post.

This is today and he is 11 weeks old! How in the world did all that time fly by? He was playing in his new toy. Briggs is very active now and loves to kick his feet and fling his arms around. He gets to going pretty quick at times. Anyway, we ended up purchasing a $25 bouncy seat so he can make himself bounce while he is "exercising". He seems to really like it. This is him while I was getting ready this morning.

This is how I found Briggs after his nap one day...I know..too cute. I couldn't help but laugh.


Always happy in the mornings...and his cheeks just keep getting fatter and fatter...which I LOVE!


Justin, Briggs and I went out to eat together. Briggs was sitting next to me in the booth. He kept getting fussy so I kept giving him his paci and he kept spitting it out. So finally I said..."Now you keep that paci in and quit spitting it out" and this is what he ended up doing...holding it in with his hand...hahaha. I mean I think it was a coincidence, but then again, maybe he is learning early to listen to his mommy :)


Justin took this pic with his phone..I know..the boy is talented with a camera, no matter what kind it is. Anyway, I just think Briggs looks so sweet here.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays - Southwest Pot Pie

I got this recipe from a friend. I'm going to list the actual recipe but I did a little variation of my own based on what I already had at home in my pantry and freezer. So, I'll add my variation in as well.

Southwest Pot Pie

10 oz FF (fat free) cream of mushroom (I used CO chicken b/c Justin doesn't like mushroom)
1/2 C FF sour cream
14 oz can yellow corn, drained (I used two small cans of Mexican corn)
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 C shredded 2% sharp cheese
2 12.5 oz cans white chunk chicken (I get rotisserie chickens from Walmart, pull the meat off the bone and freeze...has lots more flavor. Anyway, that's what I used instead of canned chicken, I just chopped up the chicken I had)
1 pkg taco seasoning
4 crescent rolls

Combine soup and sour cream. Add corn, black beans, chicken and seasoning. Spray large baking dish. Pour in mixture and cover with 4 crescent rolls. Bake on 325 for 30 minutes

Your final result will look a little something like this. We had already started serving ourselves when I thought to take a picture...but you get the idea. Very yummy! We also served with chips and salsa. And it's really good if you add some salsa to your serving of pot pie...I'm just saying :)



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stroller Fleet

Ok...I know this looks like a lot of strollers, but from my recent experience...I personally know a few people who have more gear than we do. I have had an increase of inquiries from friends about the strollers we have. So thought it would only be appropriate to have them featured on the blog :)

These are the three strollers we have. We actually started out with that stroller/car seat combo (when I was still pregnant), but after some research of reading reviews and many trips to Babies R' Us to do trials with all the strollers (I'm not joking)...we ended up changing to the following:


Snap-N-Go stroller. It's basically a stroller frame, just without a seat for the baby. Our carseat fits right into it (as shown below). I LOVE this thing! It has two cup holders for me, a little compartment to keep my phone and keys, the basket underneath is a really good size and most importantly, it's super light-weight. I can honestly fold and unfold it with one hand. It's smaller than your typical stroller/carseat combo system so it fits in shopping isles and stores much easier. I know this stroller is only for the initial period while Briggs is in his carseat, but it's well worth it. I'm still glad we didn't get the big stroller combo, just because of how heavy and bulky it was (no offense to anybody who chose that for themselves...to each his own).

Jogging stroller. This is our B.O.B stroller. I think this is hands down, Justin's favorite baby gear item to date. I seriously think it has better shocks than his mountain bike. Now, these are a little on the pricey side, but we did our research and I really like the features on this stroller. We also got last years model which saved us a good bit. Briggs and I use this stroller every single day (unless it's raining) and sometimes twice a day. We go running early in the am and then lots of times go walking with Justin when he gets home. That little bar you can see where the baby sits, is an adapter for Briggs' carseat, but once he is able to hold his head up and sit up, we can get rid of that and just let him sit in the seat of the stroller. It's great! Briggs and I are currently training for our first 5k race...Monkey C Monkey Run that is in September. You can bring your babies and strollers...we can't wait :)


Combi stroller.
This is basically a pimped out umbrella stroller. We haven't gotten to use it yet b/c Briggs isn't sitting up yet. What I like about it is, the snack tray for the baby with cupholders and how compact it folds up. That's the other big issue with strollers...they take up so much room in your car, you don't have room for even groceries.


I am personally very happy with our choices. It is hard to know what you will like without using it everyday, but I read lots of online reviews about the products and talked to people to increase my knowledge. Babies R' Us and Buy Buy Baby have all the strollers out so you can give them a little test run...which I would highly recommend. And that's all folks.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

CVS tips

Here are some more CVS deals and tips...

When you walk in, scan your card at this machine. They have them at all the stores. You can scan it twice in one visit.

The machine prints out coupons like you see below...don't know if you can read them, but one coupon is $.50 for using your bag tag and then the other is for ONE FREE PAMPERS JUMBO PACK..that's free money people! I mean, if you have a baby and buy diapers...CVS just gave me a pack for free!

And then when you check out and use your red CVS card, the register prints out ECB (extra care bucks) which is free CVS money for you to use on your purchases. The ECB look like this. And if you're a CVS shopper...it makes your heart happy to hear that beep beep beep BEEEEEP...when those ECB print out.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saving Memories

Just wanted to share a few deals and helpful advice I have run across lately.

We used an online photo website to order Briggs birth announcements called Shutterfly. They have really good prices for prints and lots of option on picture storage, photo books, calendars, etc. They sent me a coupon in the mail for a free 8x8 (20 page) photo book. All I had to pay was shipping. And I have also received two deals since Briggs was born for 20 free prints and then 50 free prints. All I'm having to pay is shipping to get it here. My sister, mom and I upload pics to this website all the time and share them with each other. Beats having to make photo cds and send them to each other. This way we have access to them and can order prints strait from the site. Pretty cool.

This is a picture of the photo book we ordered. It's hard back and it has the option for you to choose the pictures you want in the book and the website will arrange them for you, or you can arrange the photos yourself. There is also the ability to add text.


Some valuable advice that I wish I had known prior to the following...I lost one of the stones in my wedding ring a couple of weeks ago. I was so sad...I took my ring to this great little jewelry store in Trussville...Elite Jewelers. They did such a great job with the repair, everyone who works there is so friendly and they were really quick about getting my ring back to me.

A very valuable tip I learned through this experience...they advice people at the jewelry store, to bring your rings in twice a year and get the prongs and stones checked (and I did not purchase my ring at this particular store). It's a free service and they even clean your ring for you. Who knows...it might have saved me some cash and hassle?


Here is a gift from my hubby this past Christmas. I was pregnant then and knew I wanted a charm bracelet to add to along the years. The two charms he gave me with my bracelet were the graduation charm (because that was a big deal when WE got through grad school), and the shoe is for our wedding. He said he didn't find any other charms he liked for marriage/wedding, so that's the one he got. And now I have the newest addition to my bracelet...the little baby booties. It's a fun way to mark big occasions.

He got my bracelet from James Avery at the Summit. They recently had a special going on (not sure if it's still happening, but worth checking in to)...buy one charm and get a bracelet free. Makes for a great gift for someone special. They do put your charm on for free...just fyi.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

7 Years

Happy 7 year anniversary!...It was a pretty normal day today..except for the fact that we have a 10 week old who keeps us busy...but we LOVE it. Justin came home with 7 roses yesterday. I was pretty impressed that he called ahead and thought to get 7 for the past 7 years. And I surprised him today with cupcakes from Cupcake & Co. (which is in Florence, AL but we have the hookup with some friends from there, so got a special delivery)...yeah!

Here are a few snapshots to relive the memories from this special day...
I told him NOT TO GET ME IN THE FACE WITH CAKE...but what does he do... (which his version of the story is different, but as you can see, he didn't listen very well) And regardless, it does look like he got me better than I got him, which just isn't fair!

And here is us leaving the church when we were officially Mr. and Mrs. Justin Poland. We were so young, but I'm so thankful the Lord brought us together when he did. We have made so many great memories in 7 years and I'm so thankful it was with Justin.


And now..our new normal. Here is Briggs, the newest and best addition to our lives. 10 weeks old this week...hard to believe time has gone by so fast, but so thankful for this blessing. And blows my mind all the time, how this precious little miracle is and he's part of both of us. So special!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Decorations

We had a little party at the Poland's last week and I wanted to share some of the inexpensive decorations I used...

Once upon a time...I found his wooden candle holder. I decided it might be cuter holding silverware...which is what we used it for.

I thought some "mood lighting" might be fun...so I just used canning jars that I already had (I had both small and large sizes), I tied some rope around the top of the jar (that I already had) and dropped a candle in there. Viola..you have yourself a cute little candle holder.


And here is the finished project on the table...wanted yall to see it put together. I actually had enough of the candles to sit out in random places around my house...but this is what the table ended up looking like.

Tip: Just in case you're wondering how to get the candle out of the jar once it's melted...just put the jar in the freezer for a little while and the candle will pop right out.

Friday, August 5, 2011

All Grown Up

Look at how precious this baby is...we used to have to use this little sling that clips onto his bathtub (kind of looked like a hammock) but now he has outgrown it and he is sitting in his tub like a big boy! Where has the time gone...I blinked and now our little newborn baby is going to be 10 weeks old this coming Tuesday...tear :(


He does love bath time :)And then another sad moment...we had our first "meet the teacher" experience yesterday. Briggs will start Mother's Day Out in September two days a week. We decided it would be a good opportunity for him to get some interaction with other kiddos. I'll be working at my old job (speech therapist in a skilled nursing facility) when they need me and when they don't, I'll be running errands, doctors appointments, etc while Briggs plays with his friends for a few hours. Anyway, we brought his school supplies and him to his new school to check it out and meet his sweet teacher Ms. Donna....who I can tell...we are going to LOVE!


Here is a picture of his crib...so cute. We looked at multiple programs and were really impressed with this one. I really liked the activities they do with the babies, interaction with other kids and the facility. So in a few weeks, Briggs will start school...so will see how that goes..for mommy and baby :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

church success

Just wanted to report our latest church success. Briggs attended the nursery this past week. Which even though I had to pump myself up for this big step all week, then had to take deep breaths the whole time we were walking to the sanctuary...WE MADE IT!


Here is a picture of his AWESOME babysitter. Lindsey is a good friend...and she is so sweet... she was texting me on our way to church to make sure I was ok and still on board with leaving him in the nursery. Like she said..."I mean, this is a good step, you are in the same building as him, so if he needs anything, you can get to him fast". Ha..if HE needs anything. This baby slept the night away in Ms. Lindsey's arms.

As evidenced by the picture text she sent me during church to help ease my little troubled heart :) No seriously..it was a big step for me, but also a good one and I was definitely more at ease knowing sweet Lindsey was taking such good care of him.


If anybody needs a good babysitter..I know one :)