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Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Favorite Things I ♥ - Part 1

Here are some random things...and yes they are random...but try to follow...

I know the picture of this baby is PRECIOUS...but try to look past my sleepy little buddy and notice the pacifier in his cute little mouth...that would be a "glow in the dark" paci. Perfect for in the middle of the night when IF your baby wakes up and you're fishing in the bed for a pacifier.


This is a stain stick...it's basically a bar of soap and I'm telling you...this bar can get almost anything out of clothes. Since Briggs has been here...we have gotten to put this bar to use and it has proven true to all the tests so far.

In this picture you are focusing on the blue thing around the bottle with Briggs' name on it. It's called an inchbug label. Word on the street is...a mom came up with this little contraption that slides on your bottles, sippy cups...you can fill in the blank. It has your child's name on it and helps to identify their cup with all the other little cups it can get mixed up with (at daycare, church nursery, etc.)


This was my "back to work" present that my husband bought me indirectly. He told me I could get a "treat" and since he makes the moolah around here....I picked it out and made the purchase but he was so pleased with the gift I bought for him...not really :)
Anyway...every girl has to have a good bag/purse and I LOVE this thing! It has so many compartments, it's cute, the color is neutral and it holds a lot.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Chicken Puffs

Chicken Puffs

3 oz cream cheese
3 T melted butter
1 can chicken
1 tsp chopped onion
2 T milk
1 package crescent rolls

Mix cream cheese and butter. Mix remaining ingredients. Make 4 rectangles out of the crescent rolls (smoosh the perforated edges on two of the crescent rolls to make one rectangle). Put the mixture in each one. Pull up the corners of each rectangle and twist over the top. Bake 350 for 25 minutes.

Your final product should look something like this. It sounds a whole lot more complicated than it really is. Basically...just put the mixture inside the crescent rolls and close it up, then cook.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Birthday Boy

It is here...the big 3...0...! I still remember 10 years ago when we were starting our twenties. Oh how they time flies by and to think of all the things we have come through...mountains, valleys and everything in between. We have so many great memories together and today was just another one to add to the books. Here is a little glimpse of Justin's day...

I surprised him at work with a cookie cake and birthday boy hat. Some random guy helped me get into his office (because all the doors are locked without a key card), I had the candles lit and since no one had much notice except me walking through the office with a cookie cake, cardboard box and 30 candles smoking...no joke...I was singing happy birthday all by myself with a trickling of his coworkers following the smoke...but it was all good. No fire alarms went off...thank goodness. He was surprised :)


And just for the record...he wore his birthday boy hat all day and started a new tradition at the office...effective immediately...everybody has to wear the "birthday hat" on their birthday...we will see how that goes :)

Then I had decorated his car...wanted to make sure everybody knew it was his birthday and THIRTY at that :)


Then I crashed his lunch with his friend Lee from work. J's pick is Momma Goldbergs. He would seriously eat there every day if he could. I think it was suppose to be a guys lunch...but they got a plus one. We had fun though.


Then he gets home just in time to play with little buddy for a little bit and he got to love on him a little bit before bedtime. These pics melt my heart. Makes me want to have ten more babies with that man.


And to finish off a fun day...We had planned on going out to eat, but it's a little more complicated these days with Briggs. He eats right in the middle of when we would be eating so it wouldn't be much of a celebration together. One of us would be feeding, burping and rocking the baby. Dinner will be another night very soon for just the two of us...so tonight we settled for Chic-fil-a and a netflix movie. Which was Justin's pick..I know..he is so complicated...JOKING!


Well that was his day in a nutshell. When I asked him how his day was...he said it was full of surprises and more than he could have asked for. I'm so thankful for the husband, best friend and father that he is. Can't wait to celebrate many more birthdays together.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Play Group

I wish there was a better picture to illustrate this post...but try getting 4 babies in one picture without anyone crying or falling over...definitely the challenge for the day :)

But anyway...you get the idea...here are some of our new friends. From left to right: Annie, Smith, Briggs, and Grayson.


This is our second time to attend this playgroup. It's been fun getting to know other moms and their babies. You might be asking yourself...what does one do at a play group. Ha...well seems that none of us were quite sure either when this group formed. I think the invite email said something to the effect of..."I've never been a part of a playgroup and I'm not sure what you do at one, but bring your babies and we will figure it out"

So thanks to Tiffany who gathered us all together and got this off the ground. Briggs and I have definitely enjoyed visiting with other mommies and babies. As Justin says...it's more for the moms to socialize...NOT QUITE JUSTIN! I mean...there is some critical information shared at these gatherings :) Does it count that most of us are first time moms who don't have too much experience with this motherhood thing :) Seriously...it does help to know other people struggle with the same things you do every day. Maybe a better name would be "support group", or at least until our babies are old enough to actually play together...haha.

More than anything it's great to share life with these ladies and learn about their stories, watch our babies grow together, and encourage one another. We just hang out for however long...everyone usually gets fed (adults included), changed and have a nap in that timeframe. We have had some good times already and look forward to many more to come.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Banana Pudding

One of the staple desserts in the south is definitely Banana Pudding. I wanted to share a recipe that I often get special requests to bring to functions, friends birthday parties, etc... I will give you a tip..in order to make this work out right, you gotta get yourself one of these bad boys (a KitchenAid mixer). My grandmother gave me this, and it makes a serious difference when you're cooking/baking recipes.



Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding
Paula Deen

1 12oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed (I have used an 8 oz and it tastes just as good)
1 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 5 oz box instant vanilla pudding
2 C milk
6-8 bananas
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies

Line the bottom of a 13x9 dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top ( I usually can't get a whole bag on bottom)

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, (I prefer using the KitchenAid Mixer), combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. I have tried this recipe multiple times without the Mixer and it is very hard to get the cream cheese mixed without lumps by hand. Note: make sure the cream cheese is VERY SOFT or it won't mix well. And as much as I hate to say it...go ahead and use the real stuff, not fat free. It makes a difference in this recipe. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies (I always have a few cookies left over).

Your final project should look a little something like this:


Tip: I have used other fruit besides just bananas in this dish. I have added strawberries and blueberries and it was really yummy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Race Ready

Well we did it...our first official 5k race was this morning. It was such a great event in Homewood, AL. Our race was to benefit Camp Smile-A-Mile which is a really neat organization that allows children with cancer or who have had cancer, to participate in the camping experience. Briggs and i were honored to be able to participate and support the cause.

Here is picture when we were about to leave at 6:30 AM to get to our race...


And here is our little man...all smiles...and in his baby armour. Check out his sweat bands...cracks me up every time I look at this picture. A friends sent us that outfit and it was PERFECT for our race today :)


Here we are in a group of runners... thumbs up and smiles from mommy.


And here we are after it was over. Still smiling. Briggs and I run/walk our neighborhood almost every morning so I wasn't concerned about not finishing. We often go further than 3.1 miles a day...I was just trying to not be last :) I will say, it was pretty challenging in the sense that there were some pretty steep hills on the course. Our neighborhood is very flat...so making it up those bad boys was a challenge and then with a jogging stroller...yeah. There were a ton of people and it was interesting trying to weave in and out of people during the race...but we did it and didn't run over anybody.


This is pretty typical from our running in the neighborhood...it puts the sleeper hold on little buddy. This ride was a little more bumpy than our neighborhood course and I think it made him sleep even that much harder. We made sure his belly was full and his diaper was changed...he was down for the count (his little hood even fell down on his eyes and he didn't even flinch...haha).


And here we are just after the run...he is sacked out and I'm all sweaty...but is was very fun. We got some flyers for more upcoming 5k races in the Birmingham area (and are stroller friendly)...so looks like we may have more of these in our future.


Justin and I love the Homewood area. If any of you are looking for a nice, low key area to hang out..this is your place. Because the weather was so great, we ended up walking over to the main strip after the race. We had such a good day... got some lunch and just hung out. It's a very family friendly area. People walking, running, kids everywhere, people with their dogs, lots of good food, little shops to look around... It's a great little area of Birmingham. We love the style down there...but I will say, the old sidewalks and uneven surfaces can make for a challenging trip without a jogging stroller. I have been out there with my Snap-n-Go stroller and it's pretty challenging to get in and out of the door thresholds and on and off the sidewalks. Thankfully we had our jogging stroller today and that puppy will roll over anything. Either way..it was a great day and we still love Homewood with their uneven surfaces and lack of sidewalk ramps.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Will you?

Having a baby has changed many things in our life...and I can honestly say for the better. One lady in the store the other day was looking at Briggs and said..."They will change your life"...but her tone was more of a negative twist to that statement. My response..."Yep and it's so much better now" I wonder how she liked that response :)

One major change is, how you think about things, spend money, prepare for the present and the future. I'm making this post to encourage all of our friends, family and any occasional readers of our blog to get your personal matters in order. Since we have had Briggs, one of the top items on our list has been to tackle a living will and testament.

This is obviously not something any of us like to think about...now that we have Briggs it makes me super sad to even think about not being here with him to love him through his precious little life and to be there through all his little moments of growing up. Lord willing, Justin and I will have a long happy life with Briggs and other children to come. But...we both feel very strongly that it's our responsibility as a parent to provide for him if something did happen to us. So, this past week we have been working on our living will and testament. It makes things legal on what would happen with our assets and Briggs (and eventually any future children) if something happened to us simultaneously. We know there are many people in Briggs life who love him and would take care of him, but in the event that something tragic did happen like that, we don't want any question on what our wishes would be. And so there can be a smoother transition for our children without being passed around. I did some research and looked things up on the internet.

What I found looked kind of sketchy. So I asked our Bible study leader, who is also an attorney for some direction. His recommendation was to get an attorney to draw up the papers to make sure they are legit. He put us in touch with Melton & Duncan, L.L.C. who have been a great help. Lori, the attorney we are working with has been great. She emailed us the documents, Justin and I have been working on them (not that they are complicated, it's just a lot to think and pray through), we email them back to her, she drafts the final copy and sends it to us for proofing, then we go in one time to sign the papers.

Now I know that no one likes thinking about all this. I'm not gonna lie...it was some heavy stuff to discuss, who would have our child if something happened to us, how would Briggs and our other children receive money from the trust that's left to him, living will (what happens if you're terminally ill or injured and unable to speak for yourself...). Anyway, we are finally finished. And good news...once it's done, it's done and we don't have to worry about it anymore. So, we encourage all of our friends and family to consider making this step to get things in order for your children.



Monday, September 12, 2011

The Storm Before The Calm

In order to make the update from our first REAL Mother's Day Out experience, I feel like I need to rewind and share about what SHOULD HAVE BEEN our first real MDO experience. To take you through our Tuesday of last week (Briggs' school was closed on Labor Day so he was only going Tuesday of last week, the same day I started work).

I'm all worked up that morning trying to get everybody ready, got up early so I could pack up the house us up, had my sticky notes everywhere so I didn't forget anything, J was even home so he could go with us for Briggs "first day of school". While I'm in the shower, the automated phone thingy calls our house..."school will open at 10 because of a power outage"...LOVELY! I'm trying not to freak more than I already am, but that means I have to do my day in 3 hours, what I was suppose to do in 5!...NOT COOL!

I tell myself..ok..we can do this. I decide to just lay back down in the bed and snuggle with my baby. We get going again that AM and while I'm feeding him, phone rings again. This time it says..."power is still not back up and school is closed". WHAT!?!?!...yeah I really freaked then. I mean, I've been off for 4 months and my first day back I'm suppose to call and say I can't come! To make a long story short, my dear friend Debra called in the middle of all the chaos and so graciously offered to keep Briggs. She lives right by my work. So I brought little buddy over to her house and this is what the rest of our day looked like:

A picture right before I left. Briggs and Mommy are all smiles. I seriously wasn't upset to leave him b/c I love Debra, I know how much she loves Briggs and she is a really good updater during the day :)


I haven't even been gone 30 minutes and I've already got a picture text showing me how happy he is...happy baby = happy mommy.


Then I get this picture text...he yawned 10:48 AM.


Soon after I get this picture...with the text saying something like this..."I hope you're paying attention, I would just be holding him but I'm hoping to babysit again, so I'm trying to keep him on schedule"....hahaha


There were a few more pictures that came while I was gone for only 3 hours. It was cracking me up, but BELIEVE ME, if you have to leave your baby for the first time, that's the way to do it with pics of him coming every 20-30 minutes. Only problem during our day...Briggs refused to take the bottle from her. I mean, she did get about 3 ounces down him, WITH GREAT EFFORT! So that's what gave me the idea for "bottle bootcamp". It's one thing for him to act crazy cry when it's one day with my friend and I can run back and get him. It's another for him to act like that for the people who keep him on a regular basis.

So here is the picture that started our day...Briggs and Mommy at school right before we dropped him off.


We came into his room to meet this smiling face. We love Ms. Donna! She scooped little Briggs right up and walked us through the "drop off" routine. I only shed a few tears. Of course Briggs was all smiles. I was actually pretty proud of myself. I wasn't the total mess I had the potential to be.

Then when I came to pick him up...I come in to find this scene that melted my heart. This is Ms. Amy, Briggs' other teacher. We love her too! She was rocking him...and of course he was sound asleep (because that's where he sleeps best is in someone's arms).


They told me as I was walking out with tears rolling down my face..."call as many times as you want". I had to use great self control today and only called one time...I was pretty proud of myself. When I came to pick him up...they filled me in on his day. I was anxious to get the dreaded "bottle report". Much to my surprise....both of his teachers gave him one...they both reported he did beautifully. And by that I mean..he sucked it down without a peep. Ms. Donna told me she tried to stop halfway and burp him and he pitched a fit so she just finished it off and he sucked them both dry! Yay for bottle bootcamp! It really seemed to work. So we shall see what tomorrow brings. Unless I make another post, we can all rest assured that no news is good news :)

So we have officially made it past day one and from what I hear, these things just get easier each time. When I was walking out with Briggs we stopped at the front desk and the director says to us, "You did so good". I assumed she was talking to Briggs...but then she says "and Briggs you did so good too". Ha :)

And a quick sidenote...I had a good time at work. Using my brain for something other than calculating when the next time Briggs needs to eat was really nice. As I mentioned before, my hours are real flexible and just depends on how much work there is. So today I worked 3 hours and had a couple to spare. So I ran a few of errands and even stopped by Sonic to get a drink before I went to pick up my little buddy. So all in all, it was a really good first day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Almost Fall Cookies


Almost Fall Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 C light brown sugar
1/3 C sugar
2 Large eggs
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C quick oats
10 oz pack Hershey's cinnamon chips (I have only found these at Food Giant in Moody, but have heard they are at Target. I think they are seasonal ?)
1 C golden raisins
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 C pumpkin

Mix butter and sugars. Add 2 eggs and vanilla. Add pumpkin and pumpkin spice. Add flour, baking soda, oats, chips and raisins. Bake 350 for 12-14 minutes

This is another one of those recipes that is so much easier to make with a KitchenAid Mixer. If you bake a lot...it's totally worth the investment. These cookies call for pumpkin, which is also seasonal. That's why I'm sharing this recipe in the fall when pumpkin is more likely to be in the grocery stores.

Tip: When making cookies...you can make up the cookie dough, put in a Ziploc bag, refrigerate and make the cookies as you want. It's helpful if you only need or want a few, or don't have time to make them all at once.

Bottle Bootcamp

The big craze in the workout world lately has been "bootcamp". Not only have we been doing exercise bootcamp around the Poland house (to get rid of this baby weight)...we have initiated "bottle bootcamp" this weekend. I had mentioned earlier that Briggs wasn't taking a bottle. Well, we start Mother's Day Out tomorrow. He will be going two days a week from 8-1. I have been pumping myself up for this day for the past few weeks. Last week was suppose to be his first official day at MDO but b/c of the tropical storm that came through, his school was closed. So a friend kept him (that's another post coming soon). It was officially my first time to leave him with someone and of course...he wouldn't take a bottle...so I'm rushing around trying to get done so I can get back to him and feed him. Besides the overwhelming feeling small amount of anxiety building up to this day...one thing that has added to it, is the fact that Briggs won't take a bottle. Everyone says...he will take it if he gets hungry enough...I agree, but I don't want him screaming every time he goes to MDO and I think it would be different if he was going to be there for longer periods of time. But at this point...I'm thinking he will just be a handful b/c he won't take a bottle and will just cry until I get back...which equals a stressed out, anxious mommy trying to work but worried about her baby.

Anyway...we have been working since Friday to take a bottle and here is how our weekend has gone.


This is the goal...empty bottle in one sitting.


On Friday I was here by myself and implemented the ground rules for bottle bootcamp. There were many tears shed by both parties...but I successfully got 3 bottles down the kid. Saturday Daddy was home and here is a pic of spoiled, high maintenance precious little Briggs taking his bottle peacefully. Just when you think all is good...he is so focused, eye on the prize...


Briggs starts THROWING A FIT...spitting, crying, choking on milk...it's not pretty. So, we stop and give him his paci, only to start again a few minutes later


Well...I can proudly say, with a hesitant smile on my face, I think bottle bootcamp has been a success for the weekend. We will see how things go tomorrow, but Briggs has become more consistent with each bottle feeding. I'm hoping he will quickly associate a bottle with MDO and realize he has to take one there like a good little boy and to not throw a fit for them like he did us. So let's all say a little prayer that mommy is strong and brave to leave baby Briggs AND that Briggs shows his sweet teachers what he has learned this weekend. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they get all smiles tomorrow :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Moby Wrap

I would like to introduce all of you to the Moby Wrap. It is another contraption that has revolutionized our lives in the Poland house. I'm sure you have all seen in my previous postings about our dilemma in the grocery store with Briggs' carseat not fitting in the buggy. Solution... we got a carrier for me to wear him while shopping...problem solved! ...UNTIL little buddy started packing on the pounds every week and mommy can't keep up. So I have been having some serious back pain b/c the first carrier just strapped over my shoulders with no lower back support.

Well...my sweet neighbor just gave us this new fun toy. It's called the Moby Wrap and it's the longest piece of fabric I have ever seen! It wraps around your body in all directions, stick your baby in it...and you're ready to go. I'm in love with this thing and so is Briggs. It supports your back (upper and lower) with the way it wraps around you. So all the baby's weight isn't just hanging on your shoulders.

Here is a pic of Briggs facing outward. He thinks it's fun. The only thing is..he usually falls asleep in it and this position isn't the best when he is sleeping so I usually turn him toward me.


Briggs is all snuggled in...we went and had a picnic with Justin at work. Briggs was cold and tired...so I tucked him all in the wrap and he went strait to sleep...so sweet!


Here is a demonstration of how much fabric this wrap is...we were at my aunt and uncle's lake house so I am standing on the second story and this puppy stretches...well you can see for yourself.


And now you can see...he is having a good time with mommy. We had forgotten to put the stroller back in the car after our last trip so he got to ride in the mall with mommy :)


I will say...it's an awesome way to tote your baby around. Briggs falls asleep in it all the time and I just tuck his head in the fabric and we keep on moving. I can bend over and do what I need to do at home with him in this thing. I feel like he is completely secure and I'm not at all worried about him falling out of it. And the fact that it's all fabric...you just throw it in the wash to clean it which is nice. The one negative side...it's a lot of fabric and...so it's kind of hard to get on in the car...but I've done it. I usually just put it on at home before we go to the store and strap him in once we get there.

I don't know that I ever would have bought one of these on my own, but I'm so thankful to my neighbor for buying it for me. What a great gift and we have already gotten her money's worth :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Teryaki Turkey Burgers

Teryaki Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey
2 egg whites
1/4 C bread crumbs
1 packet lipton onion soup mix
1/4 C finely chopped red pepper
1/4 C finely chopped green onion
1/2 C grated carrots
1/2 C teryaki sauce (can half, to cut the salt)
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Form 6 burger patties. I grilled mine on George Foreman Grill..and they turned out yummy. Below is a picture of what they look like. I did stewed potatoes and green beans with ours.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Organize

When was the last time you went through your spices or pantry to see what you have hidden deep in the back of that shelf or cabinet? I guess I started "nesting" this week, if that's what you want to call it (since I didn't get to do it before Briggs got here b/c I was on bedrest).

Anyway, how many times have you bought a spice for one recipe and it calls for a teaspoon... then you never use it again until a year later when you make that same recipe? Here is a perfect example of that very thing and how many spices were expired when I really started looking..yikes!


And this is what my pantry looked like before I got into organize mode. I'm sure none of you have a pantry that looks this bad...

And this is what it looked like after I organized and cleaned out. It's amazing what kinds of things you can find and what you can be inspired to do with the food you already have.


Here is a better picture of the door organizer...sorry it's a little blurry, but was taken on my phone. I also moved the spices to this door. Someone once told me, you shouldn't have spices by your stove (which is where mine were) b/c the steam can cause them to become moist and lose their freshness.


I wanted to share another organizing tip. We had to move our office into our bedroom once Briggs came...so I hung an extra shoe wrack we had on the back of the door and put envelopes, extra pens and pencils, stationary, and other office supplies in the holes

And here is our hall closet..this is also a shoe organizer but is mesh so you can see what is in it. So in this one we have extra batteries, some of my craft stuff...you name it, it's probably in there.


It's hard to make the shoe hangers look all nice and neat...but you get the idea...it's much better than having all that stuff piled up in a drawer somewhere that you can't get to or use.

Hope some of these organizing tips helped somebody...they sure have made our life easier and helps us to see and use what we have.