lucky charms marshmallow bars

These are my little twist on Rice Krispies Treats, one of my husbands favorite things...  crossed with Lucky Charms, one of his favorite cereals!

We absolutely love Lucky Charms around here, and this is such a fun way to enjoy them!

Actually, this is kind of the only way we can enjoy them anymore...  Bjørn loves the marshmallows so much that, if we pull out a box for any reason, he throws a fit until he gets some!

The problem with that is...  he will only eat the marshmallows, leaving a whole mess of plain cereal that no one is excited to eat.

So, when I saw some pre-packaged cereal bars similar to these at the store the other day - I loved the idea... but I didn't love the price, and knew I could make them much cheaper at home.

Enjoy!  :o)

Lucky Charms Marshmallow Bars Recipe

4 tablespoons butter
1 (10oz) bag marshmallows
6-7 cups Lucky Charms cereal*

Grease a 9x13" dish or a large tupperware container.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir in the marshmallows and continue to cook, stirring often, until the marshmallows are melted and smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal until combined.  Spread into your greased container and press down with damp fingers to flatten and smooth the top.

*You can adjust the Lucky Charms amount depending on how...  gooey...  you like your bars.  We like 'em really gooey, so I used 6 cups cereal!


peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough truffles

Ok, so I obviously have a bit of a thing for truffles lately...  or dipping things in chocolate...  or whatever.  

I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, do you?!

If you troll around food blogs like I do, I'm sure you've seen a few versions of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles lately...

I think they are such a great idea!  Everything I love about raw cookie dough, minus the slightly-dangerous-to-eat raw eggs, and coated in a delicious chocolate shell.  Yum!

Of course I just had to try my own version of these...

I took my truffles one step further by using a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough for the filling...  yum!

I've got a regular chocolate chip cookie dough truffle idea in the back of my mind too, so keep your eyes open for that!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups chocolate chips, divided (1 cup + 3 cups)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter & sugars.  Beat in the milk & vanilla until smooth.

Mix in the flour & salt until combined.  Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips (this would be a good place to use mini-chocolate chips, if you have some!).  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into balls of about 1 tablespoon or so in size.  Place the rolled balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for an hour or so, until very firm.

In a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together the chocolate and oil - stirring often until smooth.

Remove the dough balls from the fridge and - working quickly - dip each one into the melted chocolate with a fork, tapping gently on the side of the bowl to allow the excess to drip off, and then return to the baking sheet.

Chill again for another hour or so until set, and store the truffles in the fridge until serving!


chocolate covered frozen kiwi pops

I saw this idea a few weeks ago on Pinterest and was so excited to try it when my cousin left a few kiwis at our house last week!

They are so refreshing, cute and fun...  and I feel a lot better about serving this to my toddler than an ice cream bar!

Once again, I did not temper my chocolate... for 2 reasons.  1st, I don't know how.  2nd, I am all about simplicity, and really...  I don't care if my frozen chocolate-dipped goodies 'bloom' a bit (that's what you call it when they get that white-ish look to them!) because they taste exactly the same!  :o)

Chocolate Covered Frozen Kiwi Pops Recipe
adapted from ShowFood Chef via Pinterest

3-4 kiwis
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Slice off the ends of the kiwis and peel them carefully with a knife.  Slice each kiwi into 1/2 inch or so slices.

Stick a lollipop stick into each slice, lay the slices on a parchment-lined tray and freeze for an hour or two until very firm.

In a medium glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water (but not letting the water touch the bottom of the bowl), melt the chocolate and oil together until smooth.

Working quickly, take the kiwi-pops out of the freezer and dip each one into the melted chocolate, tapping gently to let the excess chocolate drip off.  Place them back on the parchment tray and again into the freezer for an hour or two to set.

If you want to decorate them (like I did with the hearts!) scrape the extra melted chocolate into a ziploc bag, cut off a tiny tip and drizzle designs on the cooled chocolate-covered pops.

(Did I mention my almost-two-year-old loves them?)  :o)


a glimpse...

of tomorrow's recipe.  

Let's just say...  it was a winner!



on life as a stepmom...

I read an article today that really hit home for me.  It was called Protecting The Stepmother’s Mental Health by Kela Price.  (**See the end of this post for a direct link to the original article.)

I am a stepmom.  I have a wonderful, charming & loving stepson that has come to mean so much to me, and I wouldn't trade him for the world.
But I also struggle with this life as a stepmom... somedays wondering how I have even made it this far with my feet still under me.

I chose to love a man with a child.  A man with a past that will forever be a part of our today and a part of our future.  I chose this, and so I shouldn't struggle with it, right?  At least that is how I have always felt, and I'm sure other stepmothers (Oh, how I hate that word!) would agree.

We (stepmothers) are often seen as outcasts in today's society. We are seen as second-rate moms, interfering with the family unit that came before us... even though that family may have been long-dissolved before we came into the picture.  Often we are even blamed for the dissolution of the original family unit, even though most people never know the real story.

Of course no one verbalizes those opinions of us, but actions prove it everyday...

More than once, when meeting someone new in my stepson's life, I have been greeted with a too-polite smile and that look.  The look that says "OH, you're just the STEPmother?  You're not the real mom then, and therefore don't matter as much...  You're just a glorified babysitter really, so I will politely defer to you if one of his REAL parents are not around."

Unfortunately, this scenario is all to common... and it breaks my heart.  Yes, you are right.  I did not birth my stepson.  He does not have my blood flowing through his veins.  But neither would a child who is adopted...  and would you think the same of me as a parent then?

It amazes me every day how few stepmothers I know... and really how few people I know who even know a stepmom.  (Or I guess I should say - know a stepmom well enough to know what she is going through.)  In fact, I can count the stepmoms I know personally on one hand.  And probably have a few fingers left over...

How is that even possible?  How is it possible that in a country with a 50% or higher divorce rate - so few stepmothers exist?  And if we do exist, why are we not supporting each other and being supported by our loved ones?

Do we keep our 'status' secret, as we meet people at the grocery store, or at our mom's group?  Absolutely!  Because we are afraid of the judgement...  afraid of that look.

I could go on and on (and probably will another day, but I'd really like you to read an excerpt from this article.  If you'd like a true glimpse into my life... or if you love a stepmom, if you are a stepmom, or if you even just know a stepmom:

There are over 19 million people walking around depressed today, in America.  A large number of those depressed 19 million people are  mothers.  Many experts and society as a whole, acknowledge the fact that moms are the glue that holds the family together, and are often overworked and overextended. As a matter of fact, they sell t-shirts with a quote that says, “If mama ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy.”...
That being said,... what we don’t see a lot of is the same support for stepmothers. Historically, stepmothers have just been expected to accept any and everything because they chose to marry a man with children, and therefore chose to marry his kids and his ex-wife. It’s something that they shouldn’t complain about and realize that it’s not about them, but the kids who are torn apart by divorce.  
We’ve all heard this before, right stepmoms? My question is then why shouldn’t mom be expected to just suck it up? After all, she chose to have children in the first place and it’s supposed to be about the kids, right? Why does she get to complain and then receive sympathy with kids that she chose to create, but stepmom has to just suck it up with kids who are not her own?
According to Linda Nielsen, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at Wake Forest University, stepmothers feel more stress than stepfathers and are overall the most stressed member of the stepfamily. In her research she indicates that 4 factors contribute to this stress: (1) our society’s attitudes about step/mothers and motherhood; (2) the mother’s and stepmother’s personalities, attitudes and circumstances; (3) the father’s attitudes and his relationship with the mother; and (4) the stepchildren’s gender and mental health.
All of the above mentioned and more, as you can imagine, creates a significant amount of stress for the stepmother and has enormous potential to send them to a downward spiral of depression. Being expected to please everyone without being able to express how you feel is an unrealistic and totally unfair expectation to place on ANYONE! 
Stepmothers need to have their role acknowledged and supported if we are to work at decreasing the alarming rate of second divorces in America. She can’t be expected to walk on eggshells, especially in her own home, just to pacify everyone else.  It will only leave her feeling totally isolated, resentful and depressed, just like those mothers that I mentioned above. The stepmother needs support, too; support from her husband; support from her friends and family and support from society as a whole!
I realize that everyone in the stepfamily has their challenges and own crosses to bear; however, the stepmother receives less support and understanding than ANYONE in the stepfamily and that just has to change.  Everyone else is allowed to act out and freely express themselves without judgment, because society has more sympathy for them, and historically, stepmoms have been deemed as wicked. 
We sympathize with dad because he doesn’t get to see his children as often. We sympathize with the kids because they’ve just experienced the loss of their family. We sympathize with ex-wife because she is just trying to “protect” her children.  We then we dump all of those emotions, responsibility and aftermath of a divorce that she didn’t create, mind you, on the stepmother and say, “now you deal with it and you better do it all with a smile". There’s no wonder that so many stepmoms are reaching for antidepressants and anxiety medication. And we wonder why so many are just angry all the time.
Stepmothers should feel free to say NO, just as we encourage mothers to do, without guilt or fear of being labeled as wicked. It must be understood that these women feel overwhelmed as well. It must be understood that unrealistic demands should not be placed on them. It must be understood, by husbands, that they need YOU to step up and be the partner that they married. 
It must be understood that these are women with feelings, and although they may not have directly experienced the divorce with you, they often times have to deal with the aftermath, and they need some support and understanding, too! They deserve to have a voice and a right to be heard in the stepfamily.
Stepmothers, I am once again encouraging you to aim for balance in your stepfamily life. You do not have to be everything to everyone, heal everyone’s pain and/or be everyone’s punching bag in order to be a good stepmother. You shouldn’t be expected or allow yourself to sacrifice your own mental health for the sake of everyone else’s. Below are ways in which you can protect your sanity and still be a good stepmother.
  1. Learn to say NO! If it’s your husband’s weekend to have his kids, but you both know he’s going to be at work all weekend, it’s okay to express that you need a break and would like for your husband to choose another weekend. His ex-wife should understand that the primary reason for establishing visitation is so that they kids can spend time with their dad and not you. You are not bound by the visitation order, so if you need a moment, request it and then take it – WITHOUT GUILT!
  2. Create a co-parenting plan with your husband regarding household rules and consequences, which you both agree on, and then stick to it. Children shouldn’t be allowed to use the divorce as a lifelong crutch. Allowing them to avoid rules and responsibility because YOU feel guilty as a parent is not parenting and only creates more problems for the child and the stepfamily.  Co-parenting plans help avoid conflict with the kids and your husband regarding discipline, and help you and your spouse create and present a more unified front. It also helps to re-create some normalcy in their lives again.
  3. Constantly work on building and maintaining couple strength. Schedule date nights with your husband. Marriage is work and you have to work hard at remaining connected, especially in the stepfamily. During these times, make it a rule that you will not discuss ex-spouses, kids, stepkids or drama. Date night is a DRAMA FREE ZONE!
  4. Learn to let some things go. Remember that you don’t have to be involved in every single aspect of your stepchildren’s lives.  For example, it’s okay to let mom and dad attend the parent teacher conference. It really isn’t necessary for you to be there. Instead of seeing it as some sort of slap in the face because you help with homework, too, use this time to either have some alone time with your own children or get your nails done, if you don’t have any children of your own.
  5. Accept the fact that you don’t need to be perfect. You’ll be surprised at how relieved you feel when you have more realistic expectations of yourself than what is imposed on you by public opinion.
  6. Realize and accept that you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PLEASE EVERYONE! Your primary focus should be on your immediate family. No matter what some say, you did not marry your husband, his kids AND his ex-wife, and suggesting this is only implying that it is your job to keep them ALL happy – NOT. You married your husband and you are the ones who have to build a solid team in order to raise your children and live happily ever after. If ex-wife doesn’t like it – TOUGH. There are two people in our marriage, not three or four. I’ve never seen a husband, wife and ex-wife rocking on their front porch when they are 80 years old. Ex-spouses are co-parenting partners, but they are not and shouldn’t be allowed to be participants in your marriage.
  7. Finally, if you feel you are depressed seek the help of a medical doctor and then call a stepfamily counselor to help get you back on track to getting some balance back in your life again. It’s okay to ask for help!
My mother always told me that how you start out in any relationship is often times how you’ll end up. If you allow someone to walk all over you from the very beginning then that will be their expectation of you. She has always encouraged me to set my own boundaries and expectations of myself and others. ... Setting boundaries for yourself and others is not wicked. 
As a matter of fact, it’s encouraged and expected in order for everyone to have some sort of peace of mind. And if an ex-wife or a husband has a problem with it, they are the ones who need to be examined, not you! The stepfamily can work and thrive, but the adults have to first have the same goal and be supported in their roles, even the stepmother.
(**See the original article, in it's original format, here:                     http://www.todaysmodernfamily.com/index.php/3016)


frozen grapes...

If you've never had frozen grapes before, you are in for a treat!

They are such a fun, refreshing snack...  I think they taste kind of like little miniature popsicle balls.  :o)

This recipe is especially perfect for that bag of grapes you bought the other day that are just not as firm and crisp as you had hoped.  (I don't think "crisp" is the right word, but you know what I mean, right?!)

Now this is obviously more of a method than a recipe, but I am going to post it in recipe format just to keep things simple...  and fun.  :o)

Frozen Grapes Recipe 

grapes (duh.)

Rinse the grapes well.  Let them drip dry a bit in the colander.  (If they're a little wet still when you freeze them, they will stick together a bit.  No big deal!)

Pick the good grapes off the stems (discarding mushy-shriveled ones!) and dump them all into a freezer-safe container.  Freeze a few hours until firm.

You can store these in the freezer for days, or even weeks if you want!

*If you are serving these to little kids, take them out of the freezer and let them soften for a few minutes, just to reduce any choking worries!


pasta dogs **KIDS MEAL**

I know this meal may look a little weird to you.  But this is meant to be a kids meal, and really, isn't 'weird' perfect when it comes to feeding kids?  :o)

Now, I'm not trying to say this is some fancy sneakily-healthy meal for them or anything (although I did use nitrite-free turkey hotdogs!) but it's just plain fun, and sometimes that's all that matters!

Bjørn (2) ate his plain.  Navy (9) ate his with ketchup and mustard on the side to dip in.  I made a quick homemade cheese sauce for Andrew and I to have on ours (taking this up a notch to a homemade-mac & cheese meal with some goofy chunks of hotdogs in it!)  :o)

All-in-all, it was a fun meal that everyone enjoyed and we will definitely be making again!

Older kids can help quite a bit with this meal...  and the little ones love to watch the craziness as it unfolds.  :o)

Pasta Dogs (& Cheese Sauce) Recipe 

1 (8-count) package hotdogs
1 lb package long noodles (I used fettuccine)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or paprika (depending on the spiciness you would like)
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or a 4-cheese blend works great!)

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Cut each hotdog into 4 pieces.  Thread 4-5 long noodles (one at a time) into each piece, so the hotdog piece is in the center of the noodles.

Cook the noodles/dogs as directed on the pasta box until the noodles are cooked how you like them.  When they are done, drain and set aside.  (If they are going to sit for a bit, you can toss them with a little bit of olive oil.)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour, cooking and continuing to stir until the mixture is smooth and light golden brown.

Slowly whisk in the milk and spices, and then continue to cook and stir until thickened to your preference...  (there doesn't need to be an exact science here!).  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted and smooth.

Serve the noodle dogs as is, with dipping sauces on the side, or covered in cheese sauce!



This is what we found right down the road from our house this morning!

We have a few herds of these beautiful Roosevelt Elk living in and around our small town...  and being the city girl at heart that I am, I never get tired of seeing them!

They don't usually get this close to our house though...  at least not since I've lived here!

This is one of the smallest herds...  mostly bull elk.  I like to call them "The Lost Boys" since my guess is they are most likely a group of males that have been kicked out of the larger herds to keep competition down!   :o)


scrumdiddlyumptious bars

...a.k.a marshmallow chocolate butterscotch blondies!

I had a hard time coming up with a name for these ooey-gooey bars (even my husband was no help on this one, and he's usually great for this type of thing!)...  nothing we came up with seemed to 'fit'.

So I turned to my Facebook page and asked my readers for help.  Here's the description I gave them to pick the name from:

"I have an amazing recipe ready to post, but I just can't come up with a good name for it! It's a blondie (basically a brown-sugar-brownie without the chocolate, if you're not familiar with the term 'blondie') & it's rich & chewy & full of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips & marshmallow...
ideas?? :o) I can't post a recipe without a name, so help me come up with one so I can share this with you!!"

The name they chose was "scrumdiddlyumptious bars" inspired by Willy Wonka (click here for the urban dictionary definition!) and I just love it!

Thanks for picking the name, Kereen!  :o)

Scrumdiddlyumptious Bars Recipe

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chocolate chips (divided - 2/3c + 1/3c)
1 cup butterscotch chips (divided - 2/3c + 1/3c)
2/3 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Line a 9" square pan with foil and butter the foil.

Cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well mixed.  Mix in the baking soda and salt and flour.

Mix in 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips, 2/3 cup of the butterscotch chips and the marshmallows until distributed.  Spread the dough into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is just set.  Don't overbake these!  While the bars are still warm, sprinkle the remaining chocolate and butterscotch chips over the bars and let them sit for a few minutes to melt.

Spread the chips out to be a smooth frosting.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and storing in tupperware in the fridge!


the bump as it grew...

The last belly picture I took during this pregnacy was at 39-weeks...  I was convinced I would go into labor early, like I did with Bjørn (baby #1 - born at 39-weeks!).

I didn't deliver Haakon (baby #2) until 41-weeks though, and so I obviously could have taken a 40-week picture, but I think I was in denial.  I didn't even want to accept the fact that I was still pregnant...  let alone document it by taking another belly pic!  :o)

You know, since that made all the difference in my hormonal, emotional state.

So, here is the belly...  starting at 12-weeks and ending when I stopped counting!  ;o)

Now I wish I had done one holding baby Haakon up against my belly when he was brand new (you've seen those before/after shots, right?)...  But, I guess there's always next time!  :o)


lemon chiffon truffles

Ok, ok...  I know this combination may sound a little different to you...  a creamy lemon-infused white chocolate filling, covered in rich, smooth dark chocolate...  but trust me on this one - It's so good!

I just love fruit & chocolate combinations!

I actually didn't know that fact until recently, when I was at my Grandma's house and my cousin and I discovered a box of See's truffles she had been given.

They were all fruit flavors... like dark chocolate & raspberry, white chocolate & pineapple, and white chocolate & lemon!  We could not stop eating them...

Actually, I'm pretty sure we finished off the whole box.  I'm not sure my Grandma even got any!  (I'll have to make her some of these to make up for it!)

So, when I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats I knew immediately that I had to try them... and I'm so glad I did!

I doubled and altered the recipe a bit (are you shocked?)... but you can click here to see the original recipe if you'd like!  :o)

Note:  you could absolutely make these truffles 'prettier' by tempering the chocolate before dipping, but I wanted to keep these simple...  and besides, will they really taste any better if their coating is perfect??

Lemon Chiffon Truffles Recipe

9oz (about 1 1/2 cups) chopped good-quality white chocolate
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
zest from 2 large lemons, divided
2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place the chopped white chocolate and about 3/4 of the lemon zest in a small heatproof-bowl.  In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the cream to simmering.

Pour the hot cream over the chopped white chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes.  Stir well.  If necessary, microwave for 10 seconds and stir well again, repeating until the mixture is just smooth.

Cover and place in the fridge to chill at least 3-4 hours or overnight, until firm enough to roll into balls.

Scoop out about tablespoon-sized amounts of the filling and roll into smooth balls with your hands.  Place the balls onto a wax or parchment-lined tray and place in the fridge to chill another hour or so, until firm and cold again.

In a heatproof-bowl set over a pot of simmering water (about 1-2 inches deep...  make sure the water doesn't tough the bottom of the bowl!) stir together the chocolate chips and oil with a rubber spatula, continuing to stir and scrape the bowl until the chocolate is just melted and smooth.

Remove the bowl from the pot, wipe the bottom dry, and set on a towel at your workstation.  Take the tray of truffles out of the fridge and quickly dip each one into the melted chocolate.  Set them back onto the parchment-lined tray, and sprinkle with a pinch of the remaining lemon zest while the chocolate is still wet.

Place the tray back in to the fridge to set and chill for at least an hour, and then transfer to a tupperware container to store!


chicken pot pie with a cheesy biscuit top

We had some friends over last night, and I really wanted to make a chicken pot pie for dinner.  The only problem was that I just wasn't in the mood to make a pie crust!

So, I sent my husband to the store to get a pre-made pie crust.  Unfortunately, he came home empty-handed... the store was out!

Time for plan B.  I could make a pie crust (still not in the mood)...  look for puff pastry in my freezer (no luck)... or...  maybe a biscuit topping would work?  And since I had never actually made biscuits before, that would be fun!

I decided that a simple drop biscuit topping would be best...  and added a little cheese to the dough, just for kicks.  :o)  This combination was definitely a winner, and I will be making this again for sure!

Chicken Pot Pie with a Cheesy Biscuit Top Recipe

for the filling:
3 chicken breasts, cooked* and chopped
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large potato, diced
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
salt, pepper & crushed red pepper, to taste
for the biscuits:
1 cups flour
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Cook the potatoes and onions until soft.  Add in the carrots and celery and continue to cook until they are just tender.

Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so.  Add in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, cooking until melted, and then dump in the flour, stirring well until it has absorbed the butter and started to brown.

Whisk in the chicken stock, stirring well until smooth, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Let simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thicken to your desired consistency.

Stir in the heavy cream, the cooked chicken and the seasonings.  Dump this mixture into a greased 9" square baking dish (or 2 deep dish pie plates).

**You could stop at this point, cover well and put this in the fridge!  When you're ready - just preheat the oven, whip up the biscuits, drop them on top and bake as usual.**

To make the biscuits:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tarter and salt.  Cut in the butter with a fork, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add in the milk and cheese and stir lightly, just to combine and moisten.  (Be careful not to over-mix the dough, or the biscuits will be tough!)  Drop the biscuit dough by spoonfuls over the top of the filling in your baking dish.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and cooked through and the filling is bubbling!

*I like to poach my chicken for recipes like this...  just cover the chicken breasts (still frozen is fine!) with cold water and a bit of salt, bring to a boil and simmer until no longer pink in the middle!


a day in the life...

... of a SAHM.  (Or, as my husband likes to call it: “Sitting around doing nothing all day.”) 

You may wonder what exactly a SAHM (stay at home mom) does all day.  Well, here’s a glimpse. Obviously, this is just one day... and just my day.  Every day and every mom is different. 

Please excuse the sloppiness of the following writing.  It is what it is.  Here goes:

H = Haakon, 3 months old.  B = Bjørn, almost 2 years old.  N = Navy, 9 years old. 

6:30am - woke up. nursed H. woke up again. nursed H again. made coffee. made the bed. diapered/dressed B after his shower. showered and dressed myself. gathered up dirty laundry. diapered H. started laundry. fed B and myself breakfast. (while moving H from place to place every few minutes to keep him from getting bored/crying.) read 2 pages in a magazine. drank coffee. cleaned-up B after breakfast. searched for missing blankie. nursed H (while rationing out B cheez-its and looking at a picture book with him). cried a bit. prayed for a friend. prayed for myself. drank more coffee. started more laundry. yelled at B to not smother H with a blanket. diapered B. videod B + H playing. rescued H from B. clothed B again. diapered H. cut fingernails (while simultaneously keeping H entertained and trying to keep B from playing in the garbage). drank water. checked phone for missed calls/texts. started this ‘list’, while simultaneously trying to keep B from torturing H. thought about going to the store this morning. decided NOT to go to the store this morning.

(It is now 11am).

ran to the bathroom. emptied diaper-trash. picked up scattered toys. dumped and cleaned coffee pot. searched again for missing blankie (still no luck). picked up fussing H. played with B + H on the floor. nursed H while playing with B on the floor. scolded B for being too rough with H. comforted B for hurting his feelings. picked up screaming H. made lunch, while entertaining B and moving H around to keep him from screaming. feb B lunch while H fussed. cleaned-up B. put B down for his nap (both boys screaming at this point, because there is only one of me and I can’t take care of them both at the same time). nursed and cuddled H while eating my now-cold lunch and watching a movie. ahhh… breaktime (body may be resting, but mind is definitely not). worked on planning B’s birthday. comforted fussing, gassy H. nursed H again. wrote a blog post/recipe. rescued B from his crib. cuddled B. diapered B. changed clothes. worked on grocery list. bundled B + H. loaded boys and myself into car. went to grocery store. stopped for gas. drove through Starbucks. drove around while waiting for N’s bus to come. picked up N from the bus stop. unloaded boys and groceries from the car. put away groceries (while wearing sleeping H in the ergo). served B + N a snack. switched out laundry. folded & put away laundry. figured out plans for dinner.

(It is now 3:30pm).

drank more water. sorted through the mail. paid bills. sent some emails. rescued B from climbing on a tall stool to reach something. diapered H. changed H’s clothes. nursed H. checked FB and pinterest while playing with H on my lap. washed dishes. prepped and cooked dinner. unloaded laundry. moved H around from place to place to keep him entertained. took pics of a visiting bobcat. served & ate dinner. washed dishes again. nursed H. handed H over to daddy to wear in the ergo for a while. finished watching dinner dishes. cleaned up kitchen. started working on a ice cream cake orders. folded & put away more laundry. more work on ice cream cakes. washed more dishes. put away dry dishes. downloaded pics from our camera. diapered B. changed B into his pjs. worked on ice cream cakes. put B to bed. served/ate ice cream. washed dishes again. got cleaned up and ready for bed. finally found missing blankie. uploaded bobcat pics to FB. diapered H. changed H into his pjs. nursed H. finished this blog post. put H to bed. and finally… I'm heading to bed myself, at 9:30pm.

Are you tired yet?  I know I am…

chicken noodle soup casserole

Once again, this is not originally my recipe (insert new-again mom with-little-time-to-cook disclaimer here!)...  But it is just too good not to share!  I saw it on the Tasty Kitchen blog yesterday and decided to make it for dinner last night.  (I altered the recipe a bit, of course!)

Cozy, satisfying...  a delicious cross between chicken noodle soup and chicken pot pie...  this dish is definitely a keeper!  Thanks 4 little Fergusons for a great recipe!  

(photo property of http://4littlefergusons.wordpress.com/... 
 I will update this with my own photo as soon as I get around to taking one!)

Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole Recipe* 

2 chicken breasts, cooked or meat from one store-bought roasted chicken
1/2 pound, or so, short pasta (rotini or penne work great!)
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 regular can cream of chicken soup
2/3 cup chicken stock, or water
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
20 or so Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Cook the noodles in boiling water according to package instructions.  While the noodles are cooking, chop or shred the chicken. Drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large pan, saute the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in the butter - until the onions appear translucent.  Add the soup, chicken stock, sour cream and spices.  Stir to combine.  Add the noodles and chicken, and stir until fully coated. 

Transfer to a greased 9" square pan.  (If you are making this ahead, cover with foil and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to bake it.  You may need to allow more baking time depending on how cold or frozen it is!  Just heat to bubbling.)

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with crackers and bake 5 – 10 more minutes, until golden brown.

(*This version is scaled down from the original recipe to serve 4-6 people!  It can be easily doubled to serve more!)


the FINAL update!

We had our last appointment at Children's today for baby Haakon!

It was the final review of his MRI over a month ago, and we are so thrilled with the results:

His spine is perfectly normal!  His spinal cord is perfect!  There is nothing to watch, fix or even be concerned about...  he is perfect!!  The space in his lower spine is gone!

Now, science can explain this all away, of course, but we choose to believe something else.  I'm sure you can probably guess what that is, but if not...  feel free to ask!  :o)

Thank you all so much for your prayers for him!  We are so blessed!


milk saver...

Have you ever been frustrated by all the 'leakage' that goes on from the unused side while you are nursing?  I know I have.  It always seems like such a waste... not to mention a mess!

Did you know that most moms leak around 2-4 ounces during a nursing session?  That's a lot of valuable milk being wasted!

Well, there is a solution:  The Milkies Milk Saver!

This is one of my new favorite Mama Must Haves!

I had been intrigued by these since I had my first son almost 2 years ago, but never got around to trying one.  I finally bought one recently, and I am so excited about it!

You just slip the Milk Saver into your bra or nursing tank on the side you are not using and it collects the milk that would otherwise soak your shirt or nursing pad.  It's very discreet and almost* too comfortable!!

* I say almost because, a few times now, when I use this in the early morning while I'm still sleepy I have been known to spill all the milk out on the floor or bed as I am leaning over to set the baby back down!  :o)  Not really a problem, just something to remember... and perhaps laugh about when you do the same thing once or twice!

Anyways, I just wanted to share this fabulous little find with you, because I wish I had known how great this is 2 years ago!

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