Valentines Day and a Recipe

V-Day was pretty low key for us. On Monday I sent Daniel to pick up groceries since I was in Chattanooga most of the afternoon. At the top of my grocery list I put “Valentines Card.” I was being cheeky as I was pretty sure my sweet husband wouldn’t forget.

Later that evening, he informed me that I should provide a service for people where I make their shopping lists… for convenience I had written the items in order of where they are located in the store. I figured this would make the shopping experience less of a hassle for Daniel.


Tuesday morning I woke up and found that Daniel had left me a vase of purple tulips on the counter {one of my favorite flowers}. He also had a “card” set out for me. Evidently Walmart only had 4 options for cards left and there was a rather large line of people {presumably men?} waiting to look at said cards. Instead Daniel found a scrap of plywood and wrote me out a letter. In all honesty, it was much sweeter than some generic card.


For him, I made dinner and dessert. A deep dish pizza with homemade crust {one of our faves}.
Followed by Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bars with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert and a homemade card. There were quite a bit of leftovers so I cut them up into small pieces and sent them to work with Daniel {you can’t have that kind of chocolate goodness laying around the house}.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bars
Recipe found at Kevin & Amanda
Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2
tsp salt
1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips
1 pkg Double Stuffed Oreos
1 Family Size (9×13) Brownie mix
1/4 cup hot fudge topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F. 

Cream butter and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. 

Add egg and vanilla.

Mix to thoroughly combine. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Slowly incorporate into the mixer until the flour is just combined. 

Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of a 11×7 baking dish that’s been lined with wax paper and sprayed with cooking spray. 

Top cookie dough with a layer of Oreos. 

Mix together brownie mix {according to package directions}.

Add an optional 1/4 cup of hot fudge topping to the mix. 

Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreos. 

Bake at 350º F for 45-55 minutes. Let cool completely* before cutting — brownies may still be gooey in the middle when still warm, but will set up perfectly once cooled. 

*I actually cut mine while warm and served with Ice Cream on top. They were messy but so good.

We Choose Love…

Be each other’s best friend. 
Be your mate’s confidant. Their safe haven. 
Do fun things together. 
Have hobbies that you mutually like.
Let your mate do things they like. Without you. 
Do stuff you like. Without them. It’s ok. It will give you things to talk about later. 
Share experiences together. 
Try new things. 
Travel.
If you need something in the relationship, tell the other person. 
Chances are, they are not a mind reader. 
Pray together at dinner time – it will remind you to be thankful at least once a day. 
Try things your partner likes, even if you aren’t crazy about them 
{I learned how to shoot a gun and ride a motorcycle}.
Learn something new together {we have learned how to rock climb and scuba dive}.
Dance together in the kitchen.
Always kiss each other goodbye in the morning {even if it’s before daylight and one of you is still in bed, asleep}.
Always say “I love you” when you hang up the phone.
Listen when your loved one complains about their job. Or their family. Or whatever. Don’t try to fix it {unless they ask}, just let them vent.
If you like kids, have a baby. Or two. Or more. But only when you are both ready. They will make you fall in love all over again. They may also drive you a little crazy at times.
If you aren’t into having kids, get a pet.
If you don’t like pets, that’s okay too.
Email or txt or chat throughout the day.
Get away from technology. 
Stare at the stars.
Lay in a hammock together. 
Learn how to argue.
Sometimes agree to disagree – especially if you both absolutely think you are RIGHT and don’t want to give in.
Forgive and forget. I’m serious. Don’t bring up the past.
Never bring up the D word.

Let your partner have the remote control.

Jack is Three Months Old

Jack started babbling at us this month. If we talk to him with pauses, he will babble during the pauses like he is having a conversation with us. Daniel comes home every day and tells him all about work. Jack is enraptured.

Daniel’s dad is convinced that Jack said his first word “Ma.” According to Grandpa Moore, Jack said “Ma” three times while looking at me. Daniel and I are not so convinced. Until that word has meaning we don’t count it as a word. Besides that we have never purposefully tried to teach him any words, so where would he have learned this from?



Jack loves our Lullabye and Family Folk Song Stations on Pandora. He is a big fan of the song: B-I-N-G-O. One time when I was singing it to him, he kept trying to say “O” every time I got to the “O” part. It was pretty funny.

Little guy has started drooling a LOT. Along with the drool there have been a few days of extra fussiness. Thankfully he is still laid back most of the time. I hope he is not teething already – it is WAY TOO EARLY for such things.

Last month we discovered the magic of a pacifier. This month Jack discovered the magic of his sticking his fist in his mouth.

Jack continues to spit up. Some days we almost make it through without an incident, but other days he makes up for it in spades. He doesn’t fit any of the reflux symptoms other than spitting up, so I get the privilege of doing lots of laundry. His and mine.

Our first major road trip was to Searcy, AR this month. It was 8-ish hours in the car. Each way. Jack’s maximum tolerance for the car seems to be around 6 hours.

Jack met his Great Grandma Davis {on my dad’s side} as well as his Great Aunt Linda and Great Uncle Keith. We are getting closer to having introduced him to all of our extended family. 

Jack’s 2 month PED visit went well. He is in the 55th percentile for length (23.5in), 60th percentile for weight (12lbs14oz) and 90th percentile for size of head (16.75in)! Our PED says that just means he has a big brain 🙂 

Jack did really well and calmed down fairly easily after his immunizations. He was fairly subdued afterward and ended up developing a low-grade fever later that day. He was out of sorts for about 24 hours. We spent lots of extra time cuddling.

Jack experienced his first bout of sickness this month… just a cold. Thankfully labs for RSV came back negative. Jack and I were both sick for about a week. The humidifier and snot sucker thing came in handy.


We took Jack to the movies for the first time this month. We thought he would sleep the entire time. Instead he seemed to be enamored with the big screen. We aren’t sure if this is good for him so we may not go back for a while.

We try to eat out weekly. Mostly for our own sanity – I like having a break from cooking and it is nice to do “normal” things that we did before we had Jack. We have even gone out with friends a few times. Most of our friends in town are not “kid people.” We completely understand that. We weren’t kid people until Jack was born. Now we LOVE our kid. Anyways, our friends were impressed by how chilled out Jack is. According to them, Jack is courteous even when he cries 🙂 Also, one of Daniel’s co-workers told us that we probably have a Stewie on our hands… If you are unfamiliar, Stewie is the baby on Family Guy; a 1-year-old prodigy who is obsessed with world domination.

A couple of weeks ago, Jack and I attended my sister’s baby shower

Cousin Izzy had a ball playing with and caring for Jack. 
She is going to be an amazing big sister.



Speaking of big sister… on the last day before Jack turned 3 months old {yesterday}, his cousin, Levi was born. We are so excited for my sister and her family and I can’t wait to watch these two little boys grow up together.

*I will be writing monthly updates of Jack with pictures of Jack and the Tonka truck on the 11th of each month. One Month Old. Two Months Old.

Thursday Things: 3 Products We Regularly Used for Jack (0-3 Months)

Every time I try to make Granola, I burn it. every.time.

Cloth diapers really are saving us a boat load of money. Jack is 3 months old and we have only spent $100 on disposable diapers. Woo-hoo.

My nephew should enter the world sometime in the next 24 hours. Jack will have a little boy cousin who is 3 months younger than him. We can’t wait to meet Levi.

I am not cooking as much as I used to, but I still manage to knock out 3 meals a week – we are eating more leftovers these days. 

I am almost done knitting Jack’s baby blanket. Unfortunately Walmart is out of my yarn and I only need 1 ball of yarn to finish. Not sure what I will do if they are no longer selling said yarn…

After 3 months of being a mom, my top three products for baby are:
    • The Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play Newborn Sleeper – Jack is still sleeping in our bedroom and this is perfect for night time as well as naps.
    • My Kindle Fire – it plays Pandora (we like the Lullabye and Family Folk Song Stations) and it is great for reading books or perusing the internet when I am nursing Jack.
    • An elastic hair band for my wrist. This is how I track what side to nurse Jack on… pretty high tech 🙂 I just move the elastic band back and forth to each wrist. It is the easiest way for me to keep track (especially in the middle of the night when I am tired). If you are into techie things, I have heard good things about the Baby Connect ap for iPhone.

    A typical day: Jack and Sophie napping on the couch while I work on freelance projects.

    2012 Book 6: Mockingjay

    I finally wrapped up The Hunger Games trilogy. I stayed up until midnight to finish Mockingjay {this was tough since I had to get up to feed Jack shortly after going to sleep… such is life with an infant}.

    Overall I really enjoyed the trilogy. My first impressions are that The Hunger Games was my favorite book of the three. Mockingjay was a bit intense and I feel like the movie version of this book will be incredibly gory… not sure that I will be able to watch it.

    I was a bit disappointed in the deaths of certain characters {don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t read the trilogy yet}, but believe they were necessary to the plot. Also I wish that the characters of Coin and Boggs were more developed. I kind of felt like I was just thrown into book 3 without much set up. Since I had waited almost a month between reading Catching Fire and Mockingjay, there were a few times that my tired mommy brain couldn’t figure out what was going on from the previous storyline.

    I really liked the ending and believed that Katness chose the right boy for her {again, I don’t want to spoil it}.

    Excerpts from the book: 

    I begin to fully understand the lengths to which people have gone to protect me. What I mean to the rebels. My ongoing struggle against the Capitol, which has so often felt like a solitary journey, has not been undertaken alone. I have had thousands upon thousands of people from the districts at my side. I was their Mockingjay long before I accepted the role.
     

    I’m sick of people lying to me for my own good. Because really it’s mostly for their own good.

    “That’s why I killed Cato…and he killed Thresh…and he killed Clove…and she tried to kill me. It just goes around and around, and who wins? Not us. Not the districts. Always the Capitol. But I’m tired of being a piece in their Games.”
     
    Am I really that cold and calculating? Gale didn’t say, “Katniss will pick whoever it will break her heart to give up,” or even “whoever she can’t live without.” Those would have implied I was motivated by a kind of passion. But my best friend predicts I will choose the person who I think I “can’t survive without.”

    What I need to survive is not —–‘s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only —– can give me that.

    Comfort Food: Tuna, Pasta and Cheese Gratin

    Also known as Tuna Noodle Casserole.
    I am a big fan of this kind of casserole, but since I rarely cook the same thing twice, I have long since lost my favorite version of this recipe. I was really excited to come across a close enough version from Elizabeth’s Edible Experience {she adapted her version of the casserole from a William Sonoma recipe.

    I don’t know what makes me love this casserole so much. I think that it reminds me of Wilderness Trek
    Tuna, Pasta and Cheese Gratin
    Adapted from
    Elizabeth’s Edible Experience

    Ingredients

    • 1lb whole wheat rigatoni pasta
    • 1 tbs olive oil
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped
    • 6 tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3/4 tsp pepper
    • ground nutmeg, to taste
    • 8 oz tuna, packed in sunflower oil
    • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

    Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package. Drain and transfer to a bowl and set aside.

    In a saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and celery in olive oil. Set aside. 

    Melt 4 tbs of butter. Add the flour, stirring until fully incorporated, about 3 minutes; do not allow to brown.
    Slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly.
    Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

    Add the sauce to the macaroni and mix well.
    Fold in the tuna, onions, celery and cheese.
    Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

    Top with the bread crumbs. Finally, cut the remaining 2 tbs of butter into bits and use to dot the top of the gratin.
    Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

    I would walk 500 miles…

    Remember that challenge I wrote about last month? The one where I said I would *attempt* to walk/run/hike/paddle/swim 500 miles this year? Yeah, well I am off to a rather slow start.

    Miserable January weather. An infant at home. Living in the country with nowhere close by to run. A bad cold. All have conspired against me.

    I still am going to work towards this goal, but right now, my YTD mileage is a piddly 4.5 miles. Sad. At least I managed to squeeze in a few Cardio Kickboxing and Zumba classes last month. Hopefully February will see me making better headway towards this goal of mine.

    In other news, I am already down to my pre-baby weight. So at least I have that going for me.

    As for the other goals… I haven’t made any headway on them either. Some days I think I am doing good to take a shower and put real clothes on {especially this past week while Jack and I have been sick}.