Monthly Archives: October 2011

Baby Shower and 33 weeks

Goodness I am one blessed lady with some sweet, incredible, generous friends. The ladies at Sojourn, our Church here, threw me a cloth diaper shower this last weekend. It was, an absolute blast. We laughed a lot, ate a lot of yummy food, and had a good ole’ time 🙂

Yes I did say CLOTH diaper shower…we are going to embark on this adventure with Baby Boy # 2.  We decided that we would try this after I potty trained Little Man and figured out that we had spent over $2,000.00 in diapers by the time he was 2 and 1/2.  Call me crazy but thats a whole lot of money to literally poop in and throw in the trash.  So cloth it is!

Note my excitement about the possibilities of frugality in my hand!

(Its weird putting a picture of yourself on your own blog…I don’t like it.)

No worries, though; to keep stress down, we are still going to use disposables for the first month or two.  I’m not THAT crazy!

For those who are interested in cloth diapering their own kiddos or are curious, I am planning on using the Flip System with the organic inserts (because sensitive skin runs in our family and the ‘stay-dry’ inserts sometimes tend to irritate babies skin) and a few Pocket Bum Genius’ and Fuzzi Bunz for the convenience of  having pre-stuffed cloth diapers when away from home (at the store, friends house, etc.)

Oh and, as of Monday, I am 33 weeks along.  Getting close!  Beginning to think about getting all the baby furniture out of the attic and setting things up.  Oh I should have already done that, you say??  Well, I haven’t.  We are busy around these parts, finishing up the bathroom and all..so close…oh so very close.

Baby boy is taking up more space.  Little Man is the most precious Big Brother ever already.  He talks to and about the baby all day long, sporadically stopping me to hug my belly and exclaim in his version of a baby voice, “I Looooove you baby brother!  You’re so sweet!”

For today, that is all 🙂

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Whole Chicken and Chicken Stock in the Crockpot

I get asked about this recipe quite often.  It was handed down to me from a friend when Hubby and I first got married and were strapped for cash and really needing to make the most of every dollar in our grocery budget.

It is simple.  It is fairly inexpensive.  It is oh so tasty.

Pretty much right up my ally.

You will need a large crock pot for this recipe.

Whole Chicken in a Crockpot

Ingredients:

1 3-5 lb. whole chicken fryer

any herbs and spices you’d like

1 cup of water

Directions:

At night before going to bed (Or early morning after you wake up), take chicken out of plastic wrap and place into crock pot.  Pour 1 cup of water into crockpot with chicken.  Sprinkle any herbs or spices you’d like over the top and into water.  (I usually use a combo of black pepper, oregano,  majorum, basil, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder.) Turn crockpot on Low setting and let cook for 10-12 hours.

Thats it!  You will have a whole chicken cooked by morning.  The following is how I usually handle the chicken after it is cooked, but you could start this at 7am and use it for dinner at 5pm, but I prefer to use the meat diced up in soups and casseroles, etc.

In the morning, after 10-12 hours cooking time on low, turn crock pot off and take lid off, allowing to cool.  Take half the chicken out and place on a large plate or dish and separate the meat from the bones and skin.  Place the leftover bones and skin in a dish because you will use these to make another batch of chicken stock.  Repeat with the second half of chicken.  Place the meat on a cutting board and dice up to be used in casseroles, soups, stir fry, chicken salads, etc.  I usually freeze in small plastic baggies in one cup portions.

In a bowl place a strainer and pour the liquid from the crockpot into the bowl, straining out the leftover pieces of chicken.  Place the liquid which is now chicken stock, into the refrigerator. (keep reading for further instruction)

To make the second batch of chicken stock:

Place the leftover bones and skin back into the crockpot and cover with fresh water.  Add 1 tbps. vinegar and any more herbs or spices you’d like.  Cook for 24 hrs. on low.  Repeat the straining and cooling process.

Once the broth is cooled the fat will rise to the top and you can scrap it off with a spoon and store it in an air tight container for up to two weeks (or longer in the freezer) to be used for sauteing veggies or as a base for soups (It works GREAT as a substitute for chicken bullion, since it has such a condensed chicken flavor.) Also you will notice that once cooled, the stock will become some what gelatinous…or like jello.  This is normal and actually means its REALLY good for you so do not be nervous.

The stock can be frozen in 1 cup portions to be used in recipes.  I freeze it in two cup portions in glass jars, leaving a good 1-2 inches freezing room at the top.

And there you have it.  This is about as frugal as it gets friend!

Enjoy!

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My Minestrone

When I was pregnant with Little Man, I remember craving Olive Garden’s minestrone soup the whole winter. So I came up with this recipe that would curb my craving for so much less than $7.00 a bowl! I forgot about the recipe until yesterday. The craving was back! So we made it for lunch today…soooo yummy. Here it is for your enjoyment:

My Minestrone Soup Recipe

1 tbsp. fat (I use rendered chicken fat from my homemade chicken broth and it gives the soup so much flavor. Like boulion without the MSG. You could use butter or any oil as well.)
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
1- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked diced or shredded chicken
2 cups cooked red beans (can also use white beans)
1/2 tsp.: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
3-4 tsp. salt (this sounds like a lot but for us it flavors it just right. You may put in two and taste it, then salt to your preference)
2 cups uncooked noodles
1 handful of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In a large soup pot, saute onions in fat until semi translucent over med. heat. Add celery and carrots and saute another 2-3 min. Add garlic and cook another 2 min. stirring periodically. Add in herbs, 2 tsp. salt, red pepper, tomatoes, bay leaf, water and broth. Stir and bring to a low boil. Turn heat down to med. low, cover pot, and simmer 15 min. Add uncooked noodles, beans, and chicken, bring back up to a low boil and cook the additional amount of time for the noodles to be just al dente (it will depend on the type of noodles you choose. We used Barilla Plus penne noodles so I cooked for an additional 10 min.) When noodles have reached al dente, removed pot from heat. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle several tbsp. of chopped spinach over each bowl and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over that. You can also stir the spinach into the pot of soup at the very end if you want to disguise the greens a bit for picky eaters 🙂

Such a wonderful warm, broth-y soup to enjoy of a cool Fall day!

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We got “Booed!”

This last week we received a fun surprise on our front porch. Around 7:30pm, a little guy in a cape knocked on our front door, left a trick-or-treat pumpkin filled with goodies on our door mat, and ran off. (We still haven’t figured out who it was! Was it YOU?!?)

Hubby saw the little guy run away. Little Man was SO excited to go through this surprise package, which consisted of a coffee mug, packets of apple cider mix, candy, a funny pair of disguise glasses for kiddos, a Halloween candle, and more! Quite the gift, huh?

The idea is that when you get ‘Booed’, you make copies of the sheet that came with it and pass it on to two other people within 24 hours. So the next day, Little Man and I headed to the store to buy some goodies of our own to put together two of our own Halloween baskets of goodies.  He had a blast picking out things to give to our friends.  That night we headed out fully disguised, to deliver our own Boo’s.  I’m pretty sure no one recognized the delivery man:

It was just too much fun watching my son learn how to sneak around…(something about that statement seems very wrong).  Don’t worry.  We gave him context, about how it was to be a surprise and all.  He was still a bit confused I think, but SO excited nonetheless.

This is such a fun way to interact with your neighbors, even if they don’t have children.  You could bake a yummy dessert and leave it as a Boo for a family with older children or a home without children.  The possibilities are endless really.

Want to Boo someone you know?  Visit this site to print off the sheets to leave with your gifts and get creative:

http://www.prestburyhoa.org/boo/

Have fun!  And then come back and share your creativity if you decide to do this yourself!

 

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Most Delicious Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffin Recipe…Ever

I have been trying to find the perfect pumpkin muffin recipe for at least 3 years. I finally found it. And I am here to share it with YOU! This recipe is an adaptation of an already yummy recipe found here at Passionate Homemaking.

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe (makes 20-24 muffins)

2 cups pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling)

2 cups sucanat

1/2 cup salted butter, melted (1 stick)

1/4 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil)

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

4 eggs

3 cups whole wheat flour (I used 2 1/2 cups hard red wheat flour and 1/2 cup soft white wheat…it made the PERFECT consistency.  You could also sub in spelt flour for the soft white wheat flour)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 tsp. ground cloves

In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin puree, oil, butter, applesauce, eggs, and sucanat.  Mix well.  In a separate mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Gently fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture using a rubber spatula and no more than 5-10 very light folds. (I think this is KEY to getting light fluffy, crumbly muffins.  Keeping the mixing to a minimum keeps the gluten from developing, which is important in a muffin recipe) Grease a muffin pan and fill muffin cups nearly full of batter.  Bake  at 350 for 20-25 min. or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin in the center of the pan comes out clean.

Enjoy!  I am telling you these things are DANGEROUSLY good, especially hot out of the oven with a little butter or coconut oil…mmmm.

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Hubby Robinson and the Chamber of Tortures…AKA Tiling the Shower

The last of the tile in the master bathroom is officially up. Can you believe it? The finish line is near! Tiling the shower was by far the hardest, most uncomfortable, and frustrating part of the bathroom construction thus far. Poor Hub’s…take a look at what contraption he rigged up to ensure the least amount of tile shattering (of which there was none! Hooray!):

He did such a great job!

If this job is complete this month, it will have taken him one year almost on the dot to create our master bath from scratch AND he will succeed in finishing it before Baby Boy arrives! Keep your fingers crossed people!

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3D/4D Ultrasound of Baby Boy!

Today I had my 30 week appointment. My doctor asked if I had ever been interested in a 3D ultrasound. Of course I said yes, because who isn’t interested in seeing their sweet little one on the way?

But the $$$ price tag always helped me to say “No thank you” with a smile…until today! My doctors office got a new machine and they needed women between 28 and 30 weeks to practice on and guess who got the chance to for FREE?
MEEEE!

I mean…seriously, look at this little guy…does he not just break your heart with his sweetness?

And that tiny hand…arg…I can’t hardly wait to hold him.

Sucking on his thumb…typical Robinson boy.

Hubby did it when he was little, Little Man still does at night (proving to be a hard habit to break), and this baby boy is no exception.

What a gift this was to me.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:13-19

Praise you God for you alone are good!

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