Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Staying on top of things

With Cam finishing his third (should be seventh!) day of kindergarten, I'm trying to adjust to a new normal with a change in schedule which isn't always easy.  Since Cam was an infant in daycare, I had the luxury of leaving work & running errands before picking him up since I just had to be there before six thirty.  Now I'm locked into busting out of work, grabbing Reese from daycare & getting to the neighborhood in time to meet Cameron's bus.  I'm also working out cooking dinner while juggling homework & baths before Mike comes home & we all sit down to eat.  I've been wracking my brain & Pinterest for a menu plan for the week & recipe ideas with simplicity & budget in mind.

I'm throwing in some photos from a fun, little shoot my friend Jill did with a group of little ones starting kindergarten.  We had a great time doing it & got some majorly adorable pictures out of it!

Anyway, I had some leftover, cooked chicken in the fridge so I threw together Trisha Yearwood's mini chicken pizzas for dinner tonight.

Photo courtesy of Food Network

 I didn't use bacon since I didn't have it & threw on some leftover veggies vs. buying what was on the recipe.  I'm constantly improvising recipes to use whatever I have on hand.  My plan is to make a meal Monday (didn't happen yesterday since I was out of whack from Cam's hospital stay), eat leftovers Tuesday, cook Wednesday, leftovers Thursday & pizza Fridays.  I'll shop one day of the weekend & another during the week.

Photo courtesy of Food Network

Tomorrow I'm making Giada's simple Bolognese which is easy & healthy & I'll be subbing the ground beef for turkey & serving it over veggie pasta.

I also found this site on Pinterest for 30 easy one-tray oven dinners that seems like a great resource get out of a weeknight meal rut.

I like that there are plenty of options between chicken, fish, beef or vegetarian recipes.

I see so many commercials & posts about parents being so thankful that school has started & summer break has ended, but for me, it just means craziness!  I work regardless so summer break is easy street in our house.  But we're learning our way around here & figuring things out as we go, one day at a time!

post signature

Sunday, August 24, 2014

From bad to much, much worse

Last week at this time, I had anxiety over Cameron starting kindergarten; would he find his way on the bus, feel scared?  Typical worries of any parent sending a five year old off into the deep blue sea of life.

Monday morning, right before Cam said his face felt weird.

I mentioned in my last post that we ended up in the doctor's office Monday evening with the diagnosis of a blocked salivary gland after we noticed Cam's cheek was slightly swollen.  We headed home, got the kids to bed & I woke up bright & early for work Tuesday morning, leaving before anyone was awake.

Tuesday morning

Mike called me a few hours later saying that Cam's face was even more swollen & he was crying in pain when trying to eat breakfast.  So Mike took the day off & headed back to the doctor to get an antibiotic prescription.

Tuesday evening

When I came home from work Tuesday evening, I was absolutely appalled with what I saw; Cameron didn't even look like my boy.  When it was time to eat dinner & Cam was acting even more sickly, I looked at Mike & we both said it was likely we'd be in the ER that evening.  After seeing he had a 102 temp, I called the after hours doctor's line & he confirmed that the ER was the way to go.

Luckily we were seen quickly & the second the ER doctor looked at Cam, he told me we would be admitted for IV antibiotics which is exactly what I anticipated.  On the drive to the hospital, I explained the IV to Cameron to try & mentally prepare him.

I could not believe just how well he did with the IV placement.  He told the nurse, "That's it??!  That didn't even hurt!"  When we finally got up to his actual room, he asked the night nurse if he could have another IV.  Her response?  "I've never had a patient ask me that before!"  I was so grateful that our friend Kelly offered to spend the night with Reese so Mike could be with us in the hospital since he was a nervous wreck, sitting at home.

The first night was horrible, I probably slept three broken hours between all the vital checks & IV changes.  Cam & Mike, on the other hand, slept like logs.  When we met the doctor in the morning he was very concerned that Cam was developing an abscess.  If he didn't respond to the antibiotics, they would need to consult a plastic surgeon to drain it.  Yikes, we were worried to say the least & would need to stay at least one more night.

Wednesday morning

Through it all, Cam was completely himself with endless energy.  We were just there to be hooked to the antibiotics for thirty minutes every six hours.  There was a lot of downtime spent playing many, many board games, watching many, many shows & movies.

I was much better prepared for sleep the second night since Mike ran out & picked up some ear plugs for me & Advil p.m.  I sleep with earplugs every single night at home since I'm an incredibly light sleeper.  I basically just drugged myself to sleep with a couple of the Advil p.m. & thankfully slept most of the night.  Cameron was completely oblivious to the vital checks & IV hookups during the night which I was very thankful for.

Since we were at the children's hospital they had a lot for the kids to do & even let Cam borrow an iPad loaded with games.

When we woke up Thursday morning, the swelling was still there but much improved & no longer red & hot to the touch.  I hoped & prayed the doctor would think he'd be okay for discharge on oral antibiotics, but no dice.  He wanted him to stay another night just to be safe.  On to night three in the hospital!  Mike ran out for some Indian food for us & we hunkered down to watch some movies with Cam.  There was a lot of quality time & cuddling going on which was an awesome bonus.

Wednesday night

Friday morning Mike went to work & we waited & waited & waited for the doctor to come around & hopefully discharge us.  This was the first morning he looked completely himself so I was confident they would send us on our way.  We killed time playing Sorry, LIFE & Old Maid.

Friday afternoon

Around noon the doctor rounded & I literally started clapping as she came into the room.  She said we could go & he'd be on a potent oral antibiotic that taste like hell for the next eight days.  I was so incredibly thankful!  I hadn't seen Reese in three days and I was in desperate need for a hot shower!  Mike had ran out to Walmart to get me another outfit for our stay, so lets just say I looked a little interesting walking around the hospital.  But hey, he tried!  So sadly, Cameron only made it to one day of his first week of kindergarten but he's back to it tomorrow.  I am so happy that he responded to the medication & didn't need more aggressive intervention.  I kept it together in the hospital, but have crashed since leaving.  I've been exhausted all weekend & feel like I want to sleep all day long which is so not like me.  I'm looking forward to getting back into the land of the living tomorrow!

post signature

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kindergarten ROCKS!

Phew, let me start by saying that this has been a very emotionally draining day!  Cam started kindergarten today!!!!

When I was a kid, I was always in a tizzy before school started, no matter what grade it was, I'd have such anxiety with stomach pains & all.  Fast forward to adulthood & I'm reliving those same feelings but this time I'm not the student!  Cam was as cool as a cucumber though & I'm incredibly proud!

Ask anyone who knows me & they'll confirm that I'm an emotional basket case person!  Needless to say, I shed plenty of tears in the days leading up to today.  We read The Night Before Kindergarten before bed last night...

And started the morning with Cam's absolute favorite breakfast (or lunch or dinner) of pumpkin pancakes.

Both Mike & I started late at work today so we could get Cam onto the bus.  He'll only ride the bus to school on Wednesdays since I'm home & Mike will take him to before school care every other day.  He'll take the bus home every day, but we wanted him to get used to riding there on his first day.  My stomach was in knots as we waited for the bus!!

Seeing my baby board the bus was very emotional & I had to do everything to hold in the tears as to not embarrass myself (or Cam!) in front of the other parents.  Imagining him getting on a bus where he doesn't know a soul & riding to a new school for the first time was nearly too much to handle!!  Unfortunately we ended the evening in the after hours doctor's office, but fortunately, it turned out to be nothing serious!  Cam mentioned his face hurting this morning & I noticed he was all swollen by his jaw/face/under his ear.  He was super energetic so we sent him along today, but when it was even more swollen & painful after school, I decided to take him in.  The doctor thinks it's a blocked salivary gland that will just (hopefully) heal on it's own!  Phew, thank goodness for that.  We're all exhausted after the long, emotional day, but I am so incredibly proud of my brave boy for rocking his first day of K!

post signature

Monday, August 11, 2014

Breakfasts & snacks on-the-go

In the theme of getting Cameron (and myself!) ready for kindergarten, I've been looking for some breakfast muffins to make & freeze for lunch box supplements or on-the-go breakfasts on extra rushed mornings.

Photo courtesy of Running with Spoons

This recipe for banana oat Greek yogurt muffins looked not only easy but also super healthy.  I whipped up the batter in five minutes flat & used my mini muffin pan for popable snacking.  No oil or flour in this recipe but they turned out so light & fluffy.  Click here for the recipe.  If you use a mini muffin tin like me, bake fore 10-12 minutes vs. 15-20.

Photo courtesy of Weelicious

Next I made ham & cheddar muffins for a savory vs. sweet snack or breakfast.  Again, I used my mini muffin tin to have a more supplemental portion vs. a full meal.  Click here for the recipe.

I had an amazing assistant helping me so it made things as speedy as ever!  Don't mind my child's hair.. she looks homeless, but who's judging?  It was Saturday morning which means lazy & relaxed!

Once the muffins cooled, I bagged them in gallon sized Ziplocks & popped them into the freezer.

I figure I can pop them into the microwave for breakfast or throw them into a sandwich bag to thaw in Cam's lunch box.

Photo courtesy of All Recipes.com

I also whipped up a batch of the classic Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough.  It makes a ton, so I split the dough in half onto sheets of parchment paper, roll into a log, pop into a Ziplock gallon size bag & freeze.  When we have friends over or the kids want an after-dinner treat, I slice off a few pieces & bake as usual.  Click here for the recipe; you cannot go wrong with it!

Eat & enjoy!

post signature

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Back to school: Organizational center

Weekdays are super hectic in our house, as I know they are in yours too!  I try to keep mornings running smoothly by planning ahead & keeping things as organized as I possibly can.  It can be a bit tricky since I leave for work in the wee hours of the morning, leaving Mike to handle the morning rat race.  The night before I always lay out clothes, pack lunches & bags & leave Mike a list on our "Remember Board" to be sure he isn't forgetting anything.

The board wasn't working initially when summer camp began since Mike wasn't remembering to check the Remember Board!  After beating him up a bit (well, not really), he finally got into a habit of checking it before bolting out the door.  Now it works like a charm & keeps me from needing to text him daily morning reminders.  I update the board every Sunday based on the school calendar & what is needed each day.  I use the push pin side to list our weekly menu which keeps us eating healthier & saving money since I try & maximize ingredients.

We don't have a huge area off our garage/laundry room, but I did the best I could with what I had.  The shelving unit is from IKEA & we just screwed in hooks on each side & a filing system/magazine rack (also from IKEA) on the one side.

The turquoise, silver & white board you see above is a magnet board from IKEA that I spray painted with a strip of masking tape down the center. 

 In this same area, we have a door that leads to nowhere, aka A/C ducts, so I picked up a super inexpensive over-the-door shoe rack from Dollar General to use as a school supply holder.

I also grabbed this bin from Dollar General to use as a daily homework caddy for any essentials Cameron needs to work on homework such as pencils, colored pencils, crayons, etc.  Thus far, I only have a binder with wide-ruled paper since I'm waiting to see what he often uses when he starts kindergarten.

Mike made the doorknob coat rack you see above & I already had the other wicker looking wall mounted organizer from Marshalls & the wall was already painted with chalkboard paint.  All together, this project cost me somewhere around $100.  Thus far it's worked wonderfully for summer camp, but the true test will be when he starts kindergarten.

post signature

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

All my exes live in Texas

Actually, the title of this post is not at all true since I've never been to Texas other than a layover & I have literally no exes.  Anyway, last week we headed off to Dallas for one of our best friend's wedding & made it into a long weekend/mini vacay.  We haven't been on a date by ourselves in seven months so we were long overdue!

We were thrilled for Jonesy & so grateful that we were able to meet his wife Tracey & be there on their special day.

We hit the streets of Dallas Sunday morning & walked all day long, seeing as much as we possibly could.  We started off at the JFK memorial & then headed to the site of his assassination.

I didn't expect to get all emotional, but seeing the exact spot where he was killed was very moving.  I had goosebumps up my arms as I stood looking at the X marked on the street where he was hit as his car drove through.

There were men hosting a talk about the conspiracy theories about the second shooter & we even heard from a man who was there as a twelve year-old when it actually happened.  Interesting stuff.

The city had a lot of beautiful architecture so there was a lot to see.

This is the Thanksgiving Chapel which is a very small, circular room with a spiraled ceiling, lined with stained glass.  I had to lay on the floor to get this shot but it was worth it.  We nearly missed seeing it, since it closed less than ten minutes after we arrived.

I was so thankful that my parents came up to watch the kiddos & bring the cousins so the kids were sure to be entertained.  When they greeted us at the airport gate, Reese was so excited that she was literally trembling & squeezing the life out of me.  She had to be touching me at all times on the car ride home which was pretty precious.  As much as I missed them, it was a much needed break.

But it's full steam ahead & back to business as we prepare Cam for kindergarten which starts in a week and a half!!

He spent the past two mornings in kindergarten camp, getting to know the school, schedule & meet new kids.  He was a little nervous this morning & cried a bit as I had to leave... it was pretty sad, but he'll get used to it.

I got all of his school supply shopping done & he picked his backpack today, so it's becoming very real.  Sniff, sniff.  My little boy is growing up so quickly!

I'll end with this picture of Reese... as we were getting ready for bed last night, she dragged a stool over to me, sat down & asked me to take a picture of her as she held this pose.  I have no idea where she got this from, but it definitely cracked me up!  Never a dull moment!

post signature