Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hotdog Hash

    Hey y'all! I hope everyone is having a good day so far. Maybe you have your whole day planned out, including tonight's dinner. Maybe you're sifting through the contents of your refrigerator for a suitable dinner. Well if you need something easy and delicious for dinner tonight(I feel like I say that kind of thing a lot) look no further than my recipe for hotdog hash!
    My mom has been making this since before I was born, and my nana made it when she was a little girl. So I guess you could call this a family recipe. It's easy, delicious, and only four ingredients. Enough blabbering from me, here's the recipe!

family recipes easy hotdog


Ingredients:
  
  •  8 pack of hotdogs
  •  4 cans of sliced potatoes
  •   Frozen diced onions
  •   Just enough oil to coat the bottom of your skillet
1.  Pour enough oil in the bottom of your skillet to coat it(I used vegetable oil), and once coated add your onions. Let them brown on medium heat.

2. Cut your hotdogs in one inch slices, then add them to the browned onions. Increase heat to high.

3. Open and drain all 4 cans of potatoes. Add them to your skillet as well.

4. Your meal should be complete once hotdogs are done, and the potatoes are softer. Add salt and pepper to taste!

  That's it! It doesn't get much easier than this. Greens beans would be a great side for this, and of course it's not dinner without rolls! At least that's what my mom always says. A little motherly advice to go with this cherished family recipe. I hope y'all enjoy it as much as we do!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Victim Blaming


victims


  I have decided I can't be silent anymore. Not about this. It was recently brought to my attention that I shouldn't play the victim. I must have missed that part where I prayed for what I've been going through since last August. It wasn't the first time someone has told me I should hold myself accountable. Maybe Miller ought to take his fair share of the blame as well. Because we hold about the same amount; none.
    I'm just so tired and sad at how we as a society constantly berate people(women mostly) for being a "victim". When did it become acceptable to shame someone for something that happened to them. Yes don't get me wrong there are plenty of divorces that are amicable. But this isn't one of them. I had no idea, no inkling. He left. The end. The only people that seek to shame are the ones who refuse to believe that sometimes people hurt other people. Sometimes there's only one injured party. If a man is left by his wife, no one tells him it was his fault. They call her names, tell him there's so many women he could be with out there. But they never suggest he did something.
      People constantly say it's absurd to act like there's a war on women when women in 3rd world countries are so oppressed. And I agree, there are horrible conditions for women out there. But how do you think the oppression starts? It starts by telling women to not tell what really happened, to just remain silent. If your husband has a problem with you, you must have done something wrong. No good woman has a husband treat her this way for no good reason. Abuse is the wife's fault. That's at least the message being put out there. And people wonder why women find it difficult to get out of abusive relationships.   
    If any of that was true women wouldn't be in danger every day, in dark parking lots, in shopping malls, and even in their own homes. Would you dare ask the beaten wife why her husband beat her? Maybe she should have read his mind that his meatloaf was too cold. The family who lost their home to arson. Maybe they should have known their neighbor was plotting that.
   You cannot call yourself a Christian and shame the victim and uplift the victimizer. I'm all about love the sinner, hate the sin. But where does it say tell the person that is personally hurt by the sin it was their fault. It doesn't.
    Husbands tried to rid themselves of wives that they were displeased with in the 1930s by way of having their wives committed to mental wards. It had become such a overwhelming problem that the first woman in Maine's legislature, Gail Laughlin, passed a bill that penalized husbands for bringing false testimony  in the involuntary commitment of their wives. So it just goes to show that the mistreatment of women has been around for a long time in varying degrees. And sadly it doesn't seem to be leaving us any time soon.
   In the Bible it says "Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way in the beginning"( Matthew 19:8). Notice that Jesus never suggested that the wives were to blame for the hardening of the hearts of the men. I guess today we don't believe that men could leave their wives for the hardening of their hearts. Mankind is no different today than when Jesus was here. Sometimes there isn't another side, there's just the truth.

Miller's 7 Month Update

   Hey y'all! This past Tuesday(on my 21st birthday of all days) Miller officially turned 7 months old. Each new month is both exciting and bittersweet for this mama. Sometimes it hits me how big he's gotten as if I haven't been with him every day of his life. Well for those of you who are curious about what he's up to in his 7th month of life, here you go!

7 month babies


Weight: At his last appointment he weighted 16lb. 10oz.

Clothes: 6-9 months. I've already started finding some of his Fall clothes.

Diapers: Still in size 2.

Food: He has started on his pureed foods, and is still taking his G-tube feeds. He was doing extremely well with the pureed foods, his favorites being bananas, squash, and pears; but I think he has started teething so he's not quite as interested as he had been. But he loves a nice cold paci!

Favorite Toy: He is still enthralled by his triangle toy. He also loves his rings that can connect and disconnect.

Best Time of Day: The morning is still his favorite. He gets up, gets changed, eats, and usually takes a late morning nap.

Likes: Being held, cold pacis, being talked to, playing with his toys. I recently discovered how he likes to join in on exercise time with mommy. We'll do squats together and he just laughs and squeals, it's the cutest thing. He also loves The Gilmore Girls theme song. Every time it plays I'll sing it to him and he just stares at me and smiles.

Dislikes: Not being held, and not having a cold paci. Oh and bath time is still torture to him.

Milestones: He recently had what I call appointment day. He got all 3 doctors done in one day; neurologist, gastrointestinal doctor, and pediatrician. I love how convenient it is that his neurologist and GI are across the hall from each other. Is it sad that that's the kind of stuff I get excited about now?! Haha moving on. All of his appointments went wonderful, they couldn't have gone better! I was the happiest by what his neurologist said, which was his first appointment of the day. He said he was very surprised and pleased by Miller's progress. He also said he wasn't too concerned by what he was doing physically, that his social interaction and awareness is more important. And everyone says he doing very well socially. He is getting even more gorgeous hair, and his eyes are even bluer. So far this has been a fantastic month for Miller!

Miller 6 months

babies o ball

babies 6 month

babies and silly faces


Friday, May 13, 2016

Five Under $5: For Babies


babies saving bargains

   Hey y'all! I hope everyone has had a fantastic week. I know I've been looking forward to the weekend. For one thing my birthday is this Monday and my mom's birthday is on Sunday(I was a late birthday present you could say). But Miller will be 7 months old(officially!) on my birthday! So lots of happy things are on the forecast.
    A few weeks back I did a round-up for Five on Friday about five cool items I recently found for(you guessed it) $5 or under. Well I'm doing it again today, but for babies!



 1. Flash Cards- $1.00
   
early childhood education dollar tree

     I'm sure your first thought is "uh isn't your son too young for those?", and the answer would be "no!". Nearly every article you read about early childhood development will talk about the importance of talking and interacting with your children. Showing them flash cards is simply taking the conversation a step further.
    When I opened these for the first time to show to Miller he got surprisingly excited. Because to him, everything is new, and therefore something to be explored or experienced.
     I found all of these flash cards pictured at none other than Dollar Tree. They have a bunch more about math, matching games, colors and shapes, etc.

2. Board Books- $1.00
  
reading babies


   If you've ever spent more than five minutes in a Barnes & Noble you have probably glared at the outrageous prices they have for children's books. Oh that's just me? Never mind.
   Well if you can identify with that you would be happily surprised by the well priced choices you can find at Dollar Tree and Target's dollar spot. I've found a plethora of board books for Miller. He has regular paper page books as well, but the board books are a great choice since they're durable and you can easily disinfect them with cleaning wipes. Score!

3. Baby Wipes- $1.00

baby wipes dollar


   When I'm out and about with Miller I find it's much easier to bring a small package of wipes rather than the 100 packs. I found this 32 pack for only a $1 at Dollar Tree, and can I just say how much I love the Mickey Mouse theme. I also saw the exact same pack of wipes at Target, but for $1.47. So if you do the math you would pay 47% more at Target for the exact same thing. You're welcome.

4. Baby Spoons- $1.00

baby spoons feeding


   Miller just recently started on pureed foods(can you say 'exciting' and 'messier than I had bargained for'). So obviously his little mouth can't handle adult size spoons. I got these at Dollar Tree. They have them in 12 packs, with either 12 spoons or a combination of 12 spoons and forks. They come in fun colors, and they're BPA free.


5. 'O' Ball Rattle- $4.00

o ball rattle ot approved


   I had never actually heard of the 'O' ball until Miller was in the NICU. A lovely neonatologist developmental doctor suggested it, she said it was one of the only toys she strongly suggested for parents to get for their children. Now the traditional 'O' ball is a little over $5, but the rattle is about $4 at walmart. I got it before the actual ball for Miller back at Christmastime. They're really great toys, easy to grasp, flexible, colorful. My son loves trying to put it in his mouth, and I love watching him try. Cue all the heart eye emojis!

  Well that's all folks! I hope y'all found this helpful. What are some of your favorites for babies that are under $5? Have you used any of the above?
 
       Linking up with April, Christina & Natasha
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Linking up with Andrea, Narci, & Erika 
 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How To Throw a Tea Party

   Hey y'all! I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day weekend. As usual my weekend came and went way too fast. If you're having a case of the "weekdays"(that is a thing, right?) this post is for you.   Because nothing makes you feel fancier than sipping Earl Grey from your favorite teacup.
    My mom and I used to love hosting tea parties, especially during the summer. We would enjoy planning out every last detail for weeks. So if you wanna throw a tea party for a bridal shower, baby shower, or just to throw a tea party read on!
 
Tea Party tips

  •  Invitations
This is the first place to start(after you decide the date of your party of course), because this isn't one of those "build it and they will come" times, it's one of those "send a invitation far enough in advance and they should RSVP by the date indicated" times. Now if you want to go the traditional route(which I would advise) you can find cute invitations at Dollar Tree, Target, Walmart, or Hallmark. You should create a Facebook event in addition to your mailed invitations. That way you have a designated place for your guests to RSVP, because lets face it, people don't take the time to RSVP by phone anymore. But you can bet they've checked their Facebook page 3 times already today. Of course leave your phone number on the RSVP line of your invitations for the traditionalists.


  • Drinks & Food
 Obviously you'll be serving tea, and a couple choices at that! But don't forget to include a few options other than tea for your guests. Water and punch should be enough. You could also include coffee if you like. As for the food you should provide a mix of sweet and savory. Mini cupcakes are great, petit fours are adorable, filo cups with hummus are a real crowd pleaser. When planning on how much food you're having keep in mind how long your party should be. You wouldn't have the same amount of food for a 2 hour party as a 4 hour party. The common rule of thumb is 6 to 8 pieces per hour per guest.


  • D├ęcor
 For decorations your teacups and teapots are a obvious choice. If you don't already possess an array of teacups a great place to look for inexpensive options is Goodwill and thrift shops of the like. You'd be surprised by the hidden gems you'll find. Hanging paper lanterns are a favorite of mine for parties. They make a good impact without impacting your budget too much. I've found them at Target before at a good price.

  •  Music
 No party is complete without a soundtrack, not even a tea party. Classical music is a nice choice, music from the 40s is great, even some of today's mellower music can be perfect for the setting of an afternoon tea. Jack Johnson, Frank Sintara, Norah Jones, anything by Gershwin, and Michael Feinstein are just a few options for your playlist.

  • Attire
  Now this section reminds me of a funny story from a tea party we threw when I was 12 years old. I had dressed up, gloves, pearls, hair up, heels on; I was ready for a tea party. I open the door to our first guests, it was my friends who were sisters and they had sundresses and sandals on. They were dressed very cute, but not as dressed up as I was. I don't think the Queen was dressed like I was that day. Before I can think better of it I exclaim "Boy am I overdressed!". My mother was mortified, luckily we had been friends for years so this was nothing new to them and their mom. Just a typical Robyn moment. So I tell you all that to say, don't expect any particular dress code to be followed by your guests, and try to dress in the middle ground. Not too causal, and not too overdressed.

  • Tips and Trivia
  • If you wanna do things up right use milk instead of cream for your tea. That's how the British do it.
  • There are 4 major types of tea, green, black, white, and oolong. They are all derived from the same plant, camellia sinensis. It's simply the treatment of the leaves that gives us the different types of tea.
  • Teas absorb moisture, so make sure your tea is stored in a sealed container.
  • For centuries tea was only used medicinally. It took almost 3,000 years for it become a everyday drink.
  • When tea leaves uncurl as hot water is poured over them it is known as "the agony of the leaves".
  • Earl Grey tea was named for a 19th century British diplomat to China. It is flavored with bergamot oil.
  • Tea used to be a luxury and was kept in a locked tea chest in the parlor. The lady of the house was responsible for the tea, and was often the only person with a key.
  • High tea was created during the Victorian era when a evening meal was eaten with tea. It took place at a high table.
  • Low tea is also known as afternoon tea. Afternoon tea began in the late 1800s by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. She would invite guests for tea and sweets to fill the long period of time between breakfast and dinner.
  • Tea was introduced to England in 1662 when Charles II married Portugal's Catherine of Braganze. Her dowry included chests of tea and the regions of Bombay and Tangier.
  • Lemon and milk should never go in the same cup of tea. The lemon can cause the milk to curdle.
  • English tea gardens were the first public place where men and women could mingle without scandal or criticism.
  • Typically the hostess will serve everyone's tea. The milk and sugar cubes go in first, this was done to protect the china from the tea.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Is This Your Only Child?

  
Bereaved Mother's Day

   A harmless, simple question you could say. Polite conversation. Small talk. But to the grieving mother "is this your only child?" can bring up so many other questions and feelings.
    I often find when I'm in a store or at the doctor's with Miller there's a sweet lady cooing at him. Honestly I'm always very grateful when people make over him. Since he's had everything so different I feel so blessed to have people not see him as different than any other baby. They only see his ocean blue eyes, and jolly cheeks.
    They will usually ask how old he is. Then the next question will be, "is this your only child?". And the lump slowly forms in my throat.
    They never mean it as anything intrusive, and it's the most normal question in the world. Why I often ask the same question of people if they mention their children. But I can't help but not know how to answer. Most of the time I reply "no he's my second child" and go on strolling with a smile. Pretending for just a moment that my son is alive and well, a 16 month old little boy who loves his baby brother and little toy cars. Because it's easier to let the well meaning stranger believe.
     If the situation is a little more intimate, basically not in the frozen food section of Wal-Mart, I'll elaborate by saying "no my first son was stillborn". I know how uncomfortable it must make people feel. No one knows what to say. I don't even know what to say.
    Plenty of bereaved mothers are asked this question frequently and I wonder how they answer. Does there ever come a point in time where they simply answer "yes" with the explanation omitted from the conversation. Do I want that point to ever come? A day when James is no longer current events. For some it's too painful to be reminded of their child, and I understand that, I do. But for me it's too painful to not mention him. To deny that he was my son, and I was his mother. To behave as though I'm just a mom of 1, and not 2. At least that's how I feel now.
    I sometimes feel as though I don't know where I belong in the whole mom category so to speak. It can be difficult to identify when you're a mom of 2 but yet being a mom is all new to you as well. Even getting Miller's birth certificate was something new for me, as James never had one, something that never made sense to me. As if it isn't painful enough already, even the government only recognizes me as a mother of 1.
    Last year was my first Mother's day, which felt horribly ironic given I was a grieving mother desperately hoping everything would be okay with my soon to be born child. It didn't resemble anything Hallmark had done a commercial on. How strange to be a mother before you've even felt the joys of motherhood. Well this Mother's day when someone asks "is this your only child?" I shall reply with "no, my first son was stillborn, but both of my sons are in my heart".  This Mother's day please remember the mothers whose children may only be in their hearts.

 
         Linking up with Natalie and Annie

Thoughts for Thursday
               


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Quiche: It's What's For Brunch

  With Springtime in full motion, and Summer just around the corner( yay!) it's officially what I like to call brunch season. I know when I think of brunch one of the first things to come to mind is quiche. To my utter surprise most people admit to finding themselves daunted by the idea of making their own quiche, and they shouldn't be. When I want something different, fresh, impressive, and easy for dinner, quiche is usually the answer. It's a very versatile dish, and I don't think I have ever had a quiche that I didn't savor the combo of ingredients. So here's how I usually make my own quiche at home!

quiche brunch breakfast food easy recipe



Ingredients:

*Please note: this recipe makes two quiches

  • Egg beaters (32 oz. container)
  • Spinach( you can use fresh, but I used frozen spinach, I used about 3/4 of the block)
  • Diced tomatoes( I used a half of a can of Del Monte brand)
  • 4 c. sharp cheddar cheese( 2 c. for each quiche)
  • 2 ready made pie crusts( you can find them in the freezer section)
  • A little milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. If you're using frozen spinach allow it to thaw in the microwave or under warm water, then let drain in a colander in the sink. Also take this time to drain your tomatoes and set to the side, and set the pie crusts on the counter to thaw.
  3. Pour the eggs in a large bowl with cheese and a little milk, stir evenly.
  4. Use a fork to evenly stab holes in the bottom of the crusts. This is called "docking" and is done to prevent the bottom of the crust from puffing. Precook both crusts for about 5 minutes.
  5. Divide egg mixture into each pie crust.
  6. Add in spinach and tomato into each quiche( I put spinach in one, and tomatoes in the other, but of course you could mix both in).
  7. Bake for 50 minutes. Once done it should be lightly browned and a knife should come out of the center clean. Bonus tip: cover the crust edge with tin foil if burning of the crust is a concern! 
   See, not that hard! Some of you may be shaking your head at the dreaded word...egg beaters, but trust me once you try them you never go back. Sure real eggs are wonderful, but nothing beats not having to crack 16 eggs. I know I like when there's no chance of choking on a eggshell with my quiche!
   I would serve this with a nice arugula or fruit salad, depending on my mood, and crispy bacon. So yummy! I hope you try you hand at quiche, and this comes in handy for y'all.


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