Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fragments

Another week gone, it’s Friday again.  Time to pull out the leftovers and bits and pieces to assemble them into some sort of post.  Thank you Mrs. 4444 (Half Past Kissin’ Time) for getting us through this!!! 

Mommy's Idea   

  • AM has a big time birthday party starting after school today.  The girl’s mom is taking several girls to a place like Build-A-Bear to make a stuffed friend, then its home for a sleepover.  This mom is very brave to have a bunch of 8-year-old girls for so long!!!  I heard word of make up being involved (by the girls, not the mom!).  I told AM to be on her best behavior.  I’ll have Facebook to keep tabs on mom to see if she survives!
  • Next week Missoula Children’s Theater will be in town.  AM was able to get in last year’s performance.  This year MD will also be able to try out…. it should be interesting.  AM didn’t make it in as a kindergartener, so I wonder how MD will do.  He has some issues with paying attention and following directions, like all boys his age.
  • Is it wrong of me to be happy an employee was fired this week from my workplace?  She called in sick constantly and when she managed to show up, it was as if she weren’t there anyway.  The rest of us had to pick up the slack and fill in when she was gone.  I’m honestly surprised it took them this long to do it.
  • Hubby’s been working at the National Guards armory all week.  I guess they needed someone to help get ready for an inspections and since he’s not doing anything…..
  • I picked up some extra shifts next week at work.  There’s a few openings all of a sudden :)
  • JC’s word of the week “NOooo!”  Ah, well, I knew it was coming.
  • GUESS WHAT? May is Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month!!! I will be telling you all about this starting this weekend!
  • Princess PM is walking around the living room “Oh!” falls down…”What the..” jumps to the floor “Doh!”.  I asked her what’s going on.  “I keep slipping on BaMANAS!” As she walks away I her say under her breath “stupid bamanas!”
  • I’d better get all these dishes done… in my working sink!!! (still a novelty!)  It’s movie night and I’d like to have the place looking like I did something today before Hubby gets back home!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Presenting: Grilled Cheese-Stuffed Red Peppers!

These have to be the best thing I’ve made in a long time.  I am proud to say I came up with most of the recipe myself.  After Googling different stuffed pepper recipes I decided to go out on my own.  Those peppers with the stuffing made almost entirely out of rice are just not for me.  Any filling I eat needs to not be just a “filler”, I want it to really be tasty, too!

Recipe List (these are all approximate, that’s usually how I cook)

6 Long Sweet Red Peppers (bought as a pack at Sam’s Club/Costco)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (you know, EVOO!)

3/4c. bacon ends and pieces (most fatty stuff removed)

1 med onion, diced

1 additional Red Pepper, diced

6 oz. Pepper Jack cheese

4 oz. Mozzarella cheese

5 Babybel cheeses

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

3 1/2 oz. box of Panko bread crumbs 

I started with long red peppers that I washed and took the tops off of.  Fortunately, these peppers are really only seedy at the top, so just sneaking a knife around the neck will get rid of most of the seeds.  There are a few down further in the pepper, but a few flicks with my fingers and I had knocked them out.

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I cut one pepper up to use in the stuffing later.

Once I had the rest cored, I drizzled the EVOO over them and sent them out to Hubby to grill.  He said they were only on about 5 minutes, turned once.  I didn’t cook them before the grill so they will still be just a bit firm.  We don’t want them falling apart when they’re stuffed!



While the peppers are waiting for the grill, I started on the stuffing.  I first browned the bacon.  We use a pack of “ends and pieces”.  Most grocery stores carry something like it.  There are no flat pieces of bacon, they are simply the leftovers pieces that won’t fit in a regular sliced bacon pack.  Usually there is a lot of meat and the fat can be easily removed for cooking.  It’s economical AND slightly more healthy than regular bacon slices.

Once the bacon is browned, I added the onion and the chopped red pepper.  Sautee them until they are a bit soft.  Next comes my favorite part….cheese!stuffedpeppers3stuffedpeppers6 stuffedpeppers4

I cubed the Pepper Jack, Mozzarella (or buy the already-shredded!) and cut the Babybel into slices.  I used about 1/2 c. of grated Parmesan cheese as well.  All of these went into the pan on low heat until they melted.

stuffedpeppers5stuffedpeppers7 About this time, my peppers came back in from the grill, I set them aside while I added the last ingredient.stuffedpeppers8


Once the cheese is well melted, add the Panko bread crumbs.  Sure, you can use other types, but the Panko are light and crispy and add nice texture to the stuffing!  I’m not terribly cautious, I just dumped the whole thing in then mixed it up.





Mmmmm… we’re almost there.  I took my still hot grilled peppers, held them with a clean towel, and spooned the mixture into the peppers, making sure to get all the way to the bottom.  I was quite generous with the stuffing and still had enough to stuff all 6 peppers.

stuffedpeppers10 That’s it! They’re ready to serve!!!  I can’t say this is the healthiest dish we’ve ever made, but everyone needs a treat once in a while…and there is a vegetable under all that cheese!!!  Enjoy!

Are you making them? Let me know! I’ll add your link to the bottom of this post.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Fragments / Friday Night Leftovers

Good grief, it’s Friday again.  Time to pull out the leftovers and bits and pieces to assemble them into some sort of post.  Thank you Mrs. 4444 (Half Past Kissin’ Time) and Danifred (Sippy Cups are not for Starbucks) for getting us through this!!! 

Mommy's Idea    BWS tips button

  • Yes, you heard me right.  “Good grief” is my new phrase.  I’m trying hard to stick with it.  No more dropping F-bombs when I stub my toe.  No more “Holy Crap!” when the kids aren’t allowed to say even something like “stupid” because it’s still a bad word.  I’m trying….
  • My butt is bigger than ever and I’m determined to reduce it’s size before it’s out of control.  I suppose sitting in front of the computer for hours a day doesn’t help… Nor does the grilled cheese-stuffed peppers I had for dinner yesterday.  I’d better get walking!! (Don’t worry, recipe to follow next week)


  • We had a plumber over again to finally start working on our sinks.  I’m embarrassed to say that he first thing he did was remove a screen from the downstairs kitchen faucet and have it running in 2 minutes.  *Red Face* I am usually really good at that stuff.  I assumed, with all the other problems, that the water further down the line was the problem.  I’m sure he thought our place was now a waste of time……until he saw the basement.  He saw the disaster we call plumbing, the leaking and dripping.  He actually decided he’d need more time and would come back (with more equipment) on a day he could stay longer.  Ugh.  Well, at least I have ONE kitchen sink now working!
  • JC is addicted to Toy Story.  Well, one character in particular.  MD loved Buzz, his buddy (my BFF’s boy) loved Woody.  Who does JC want to see? Jessie!  He calls the movie “JESSIE!!!” and it has to be Toy Story 2 (Jessie wasn’t in the first).  We have Woody and Jessie dolls from MD’s obsession, but poor Jessie was never played with much.  Now JC goes to sleep every night with her.  It’s so cute.  He gets all giddy to see Jessie even at bedtime.


  • My article about Getting Kids to Bed was published in our church’s most recent newsletter!  It gets sent out to all our congregation and it’s supporters.  Kinda cool!  You can read it HERE.
  • I am excited about a volunteer thing I’m doing Saturday.  The March of Dimes is having a reunion of the hospital’s NICU graduates from 2009.  I will be the official photographer for the afternoon, and will even have a little booth set up for photos that they can use in frames made at another booth at the event.  It should be pretty fun!!
  • Oh, AND I work nights all weekend.  Don’t expect to hear from me until maybe Tuesday!
  • It was nice enough to be outside this week…

Firetruck Rides I'm Flying!

My Photographer!

  • I had all sorts of funny things to jot down, but I forgot them.  I need to remember my list!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

ATWT – Middle Child


I was looking through my post labels (that I am very bad at remembering to include) and realized MD has significantly less pictures than every one else.  How can I resist that face??  He’s getting older before my eyes.  He reads, he does math.  I think I am going to most miss those little freckle on his cheeks and the way he likes to cuddle up with me on the couch.  I guess I’d better enjoy it now before he’s too cool for that sort of stuff.  I know it’s just around the corner.

Do you have pictures worth a thousand words.  Share them at The Musing of the Mom Jen’s A Thousand Words Thursday!

Cheaper Than Therapy

Cloth Diaper Updates – Babyland, Coolababy, Sweet Doll Baby, Rainbow BB

I have written several reviews now on various non-name brand one size pocket cloth diapers.  A few readers have asked for updates on how they’re holding up.  Armed with pictures I’m now ready!!!

The reviews I have done before are on Babyland, Coolababy, Sweet Doll Baby, Rainbow BB and Fuzzi Bunz.  You can click on any of these to see the original reviews.   I have had the Coolababy and Rainbow BB for almost a year now, and the Fuzzi Bunz just under that.  The newest in my stash (still several months old) are the Babyland and Sweet Doll Baby.  To be truly honest, I think the Rainbow BB diapers are the only ones I wouldn’t purchase again.  Almost all of my 12 diapers have needed replacement elastic in the back or legs (click here for tutorial).  Although the rest of the diaper has held up well, and they are all still in my rotation, I didn’t like having to pull them out of rotation to repair them!  All the other diapers have held up very well and I really don’t have any complaints. 

Outer Fabric PUL (polyurethane laminate)

IMG_6363 diapersSpring10

These are shots of the diapers new (left) November 2009 shortly after I purchased the Babyland and Sweet Doll Baby diapers.  The second shot is the same diapers April 2010.  As you can see, the only real wear is on some of the faded tags.  I have not experienced any de-lamination (when the plastic waterproof laminate separates from the fabric).  One or two of the diapers have stains on the front where baby dropped food on them.  My bad!  That is totally avoidable!  Except for the elastic issues with Rainbow BB I have been quite happy with all of these.

spongebob2010 I bought a set of Babyland diapers that had prints on the PUL.  The fabric, rather than being standard polyester material, is more of a flannel.  I love the feel and look of these.  Unfortunately, the fabric has pills all over it now and I dare not do anything about that for fear of damaging the PUL.  They also wick (pull moisture out to the surrounding fabrics) easier, so I don’t use these for nap time or overnight because baby will wind up soaked.  I still love the look, and I use them often during the day.  They are just not as versatile as the rest of the stash!!

Inside Fleece

IMG_6360 diaperinside2010c

These are the fall pictures (left) and spring pictures (right) of  Rainbow BB, Sweet Doll Baby, and Babyland.  As you can see, no matter the brand, the fleece pills just a bit.  I find they are still soft and work effectively.  This is just the natural wear of the fleece lining.  The bonus to fleece?  It is extremely difficult to stain.  I still have NO diapers with stains.  Two hints on keeping them stain free:  rinse as soon as you can (I’ve let them go a day before with no problems), and I use a flushable (I don’t flush them!) liner to catch the solids.  The liner doesn’t always catch everything, but it sure does help clean up.  I feel a lot better about throwing away a small liner than a whole disposable diaper.


Yes, even the name brand Fuzzi Bunz diaper’s fleece shows some wear, so I think the look of the other diapers is very acceptable. 

Fit and Adjustability

diaperreview2 IMG_9703a IMG_9697a

The first shot is my guy at 11 months in a Rainbow BB.  Aside from occasional wing droop (the part below the tabs hanging out) They fit very well.  Even when he was younger they fit well.  I don’t however feel that the Rainbow BB will fit a newborn, even though they advertise the adjustable rise in their Ebay listing.  The next two shots are of my now-18-month-old guy in a Babyland.  As you can see, there is still plenty of room for growth, and he is average to stocky build.  I do believe the Babyland would fit a large newborn with the adjustable rise and the overlap tabs that the Rainbow BB doesn’t offer.  The Sweet Doll Baby has these as well.

Those stinky inserts….

Okay.  Yes, the microfiber inserts, because of their extreme ability to absorb, can get stinky!!  I have found a good working solution to this problem.  Typically I wash the outer diaper and all the inserts together with my Crunchy Clean diaper soap on Warm/Cold (and often a cup of white vinegar).  I usually throw in a bath towel or something to help keep the load balanced and turn on the “second rinse” feature.  Every third or fourth load I separate the outers from inserts.  I wash the inserts all alone in HOT and include bleach and vinegar, with a cold double rinse.  If you can, stop the wash while the bleach is in the water and let them soak for a while before continuing the cycle.  I line dry as often as I can, but since the baby doesn’t seem to appreciate frozen diapers, I can’t line dry in the winter.  I tumble dry at the lowest heat setting.  Hanging your diapers out side in the sun as often as possible is a much better alternative and a natural stain and stink remover!

All in all I’m happy with my stash.  I am still using the diapers I purchased and I feel they have a lot of life left in them.  If we have any more babies, I feel confident they will still be useful again!  Actually I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to my cloth diapers.  I take a lot of pictures!

IMG_3367a IMG_9685a

I hope this update has helped.  Feel free to link to this or any of my other reviews, or to ask questions!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Curried Carrot Soup

I have absolutely decided this is my new (old) favorite dish….ever.  I’ve posted the recipe before, but I felt it deserved a re-post!  I have been craving Curried Carrot Soup all week, but because it’s a tiny bit more involved than the one-pan dishes I like to make, I need to be in the mood to make it.  It is SO worth the dirty dishes, believe me!!

Curried Carrot Soup

1 lg onion, chopped

4 tbsp sesame oil (very important for flavor!)

4-4 1/2 c. vegetable broth

4-5 med carrots, grated (1 3/4 c.)

1 1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed

1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt

1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes WITH mild green chilies

dash cayenne pepper (to taste)

sour cream (garnish)

In large saucepan, sauté onion in oil. Stir in the broth, carrots, curry, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Discard bay leaf and add tomatoes. Cool slightly. Transfer half of soup to blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Pour into soup pot or dutch oven. Repeat with remaining soup and add cream cheese. Combine with soup in pot. Heat through. Stir in salt and cayenne pepper. Serve with dollop of sour cream, garnish with chives or minced parsley.


What Can She Do?

This is no longer the question.  What can’t she do?  I am proud to say PM can now, at 2 months shy of 4 years, remove all of her clothes and put of different ones.  I’ve seen two year olds do this plenty of times.  What’s the big deal?  Can they do it one handed??  I didn’t think so.  Never mind the buttons and zippers (you try doing those one-handed!).  We try to remind her to use both hands, but when left to her own devices, she mostly does it all left handed.  I love that I can give her something to wear and ask her to put it on all by herself.  (PS – big time saver when trying to get 4 kids out the door in the morning!)  What can’t she do?  The list is getting shorter all the time.



What else is great about getting dressed yourself?  Putting on your own princess dress!


   About the photos:  Shot with my Canon Rebel XT using the 50mm prime lens (top) or the 28-80mm (bottom two).  This last shot was natural lighting, which I prefer when I can get it.  The McDonald’s play room has nice big windows!!

5 Minutes for Special Needs

I’m sharing these pictures as part of  ”Special Exposure Wednesday” hosted by 5 Minutes for Special Needs.  Go visit them to learn more!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

ATWT – Bath Time and Big Sister

It’s so convenient right now to have the two little kids just bathe together.  They have fun and play well, maybe fight a little, but mostly they play nicely.  I love the interaction between them.  JC will do whatever PM does (with a twist of “boy”), whether she wants him to or not!





A Thousand Words Thursday is hosted by TheMomJen at the Musings of the Mom Jen!  Stop by her place to see more!

Cheaper Than Therapy

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday – The Wing

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Special Exposure Wednesday is found at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.  A chance to showcase your special parenting in pictures!

I have started to think of PM’s right hand as a wounded wing, tucked up under her arm.  The thing is, with work and little reminders, that wing is functional.  I realize we can never completely “fix” cerebral palsy.  I realize I can’t expect her to do everything perfectly, but I can see what she’s capable of.  I know there’s nothing truly stopping her from flying with that wing when she wants to.   But it takes work on my part, too.  For now, anyway.  Encouragement, love, and patience.  Oh, and probably some prodding and therapy.  She may not always be happy with me for strapping on the “pink” (her left hand restraint) or for asking her to use her other arm, but in the long run I am positive it will be a good thing.  I see it already.  I think she does, too.

IMG_9532aIMG_9530a  IMG_9533a


About the pictures: I shot these with my Canon 50mm prime lens at f2.8and natural light.  If you use a Canon camera I highly recommend this lens, it’s inexpensive and you will looove it!