Ridiculously Easy Tortellini

I try really hard to eat a low carb diet. Key word being “try”. But sometimes a girl just needs her pasta! Am I right?! Fill that pasta with cheese and I’m in heaven. This is a really easy, cheap, weeknight dinner that the boys just love. I brown one pound of hamburger meat, drain and return to the pan. Add diced tomatoes (get the onion & garlic flavored kind and you can save the time it would take to sauté the garlic & onion yourself), alfredo sauce, and tomato sauce. Let simmer for about fifteen minutes. While the sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil and add your cheese filled tortellini. Cook per package instructions, drain, add to the sauce and you’re done. My family likes to top it with way too much parmesan cheese. But seriously, is there such a thing as too much cheese? Not really.

tortellini 1

(Hamburger not pictured)

Ingredients:

1 lb hamburger meat

1 cup alfredo sauce

1 can diced tomatoes (I like the garlic/onion flavor)

1 can tomato sauce

20 oz package of cheese filled tortellini (in the dairy section)

The sauce is kind of tricky. I like it to be a nice pink color. Just add the ingredients slowly. If your sauce is too red, add more alfredo. If it’s too white, add more tomato sauce. The end result will look something like this…

tortellini2

Toddlers make the best teachers.

So, I’m sitting in the backyard while Aiden is playing and I’m doing what every one is guilty of at one time or another. I’m thinking of what all I would do and buy if we could afford it. I would replace the small, used (not to mention free) swing set that is falling apart with a huge brand new one with all the bells & whistles! I would get rid of the little playhouse (also given to us) and instead build a big fort for him. For his birthday last year, we got him a little cedar sand box. I wish we had sprung for the bigger plastic one with the lid. Our pool is huge but it’s above ground. It’s partially surrounded by a big wooden deck but the paint is chipping off and pieces need to be replaced. Oh yes, I have lots of plans for the backyard. The only thing preventing it is money. I started to get embarrassed thinking about how our yard must look to others. I felt guilty that we can’t give him everything he wants. I looked over at Aiden swinging so high that the legs of the swing set are coming off the ground. As if he read my mind he says…..

Aiden: “Momma, I love my backyard.”

Me: “But wouldn’t you want a bigger swing set?”

Aiden: “Nope, mine’s big now”.

Me: “What about the sandbox? The side is cracked and it’s so small.”

He stood up and pointed at it saying, “But all of my toys fit in it. And my dog”.

Me: “And the pool? You like that, too”?

Aiden: “The pool is my favorite, momma!”

It was way past his nap time so after a little arguing he finally came inside. As if our little conversation wasn’t enough to fill my momma heart he grabbed my hand and thanked me for playing with him in the backyard. We all get caught up trying to keep up with the neighbors. Thinking somehow that you are not as good of a parent, a provider, as someone else because of the material things their children have. It seems silly but if you’re honest with yourself, you’ve done it too.  We need to remember that kids don’t care about quantity. They want quality, as in quality time. When you are with your children, really be with them. Play with them. Interact. Use your imagination. It means the world to them. Sometimes, I need to be reminded of that. And when I do, Aiden is always there to remind me.

Just another lesson taught to me by my toddler.

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popsiclesandboxpool

It doesn’t mean I don’t love my son!

I think I am the only mother in the entire world that would not want to be a stay-at-home mom. I mean, if the hubs came home one day and said, “Babe! I just got the biggest promotion ever heard of! You don’t have to work anymore. You get to stay home with the kid(s)!” I’d probably respond with, “Do I have to?” Now, that is not to say that I don’t love my son. He is my entire world (no offense, babe). I am just saying that for me, I am a better mom when I get a break. Spending eight hours a day with other adults recharges me. Let’s be honest guys, toddlers can be a handful. I find myself lowering myself to his level and fighting back with him. When I hear myself yell, “No, you smell like poop!” I know I need to regroup.

donut

 

 

School? I quit….. for now.

Something has to be said for people who work full time and go to school. Add a kid to the mix and it’s almost impossible! I’ve always known I wanted to be in the medical field. I went to school to be a surgical technologist & love it! Since I had my son I’ve been more on the business side of it but I do get to help out in surgery a few times a week. I’ve taken classes off an on for a few years and now am just three classes shy of being able to apply for the nursing program. Last year I decided enough was enough and enrolled in classes. This was it. I was finally going to become a registered nurse. I was going to make my son proud of me. I was going to make a bigger salary. I was going to reach my career goal. There was just one thing standing in my way; my arch nemesis: algebra. When I say I am clueless at math, it is an understatement. I failed it…. for a third time.

I didn’t fail because I could not grasp the curriculum. It was because I wasn’t trying. Not at all, really. I bet you can’t guess why. That’s right, “momma guilt”. After working eight to ten hours a day, all I want to do is rush home and play with Aiden. I’d much rather cuddle up on the couch and watch PAW Patrol with him than close myself up in the room and do homework. Yes, getting through nursing school would have its benefits, but at what cost? You only get one chance to raise your child. One chance. I don’t want to miss a single moment with that crazy kid of mine.

I am not done with school. I am merely taking a hiatus. And I’m okay with it. I am not a failure. That was hard to accept. I am young. There are plenty of people who go to school later in life. Some make complete career changes. Once Aiden (and maybe baby number two if there is one in our future) starts elementary school I’ll revisit it. Until then, I am more than happy being his mommy, and a wife, and full-time employee, and house keeper, and cook, and chauffeur, and personal shopper, etc.

P.S. The below picture was from 2010. Don’t get excited.

preg scrub

Low Carb Mexican Chicken Casserole

Chicken4

This one is just way too easy, and the toddler eats it without too much of a fight. That makes it a winner! I adore my crockpot. It makes weeknight dinners a lot easier (Except when you go off to work and forget to turn the crockpot on. Yep, that’s from experience.) This recipe called for boiling the chicken, but it took too long. I put a whole pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot with a half cup of chicken stock, a table spoon of minced garlic, salt, & pepper. It looks something like this….

chicken1

Not very appetizing, yet. Hold on. It gets better. It cooks on low heat for six hours. When I get home from work I shred it and put it in a glass casserole dish. Add two cans of diced tomatoes and chilies (I use mild Rotel) and mix well. Next, add a layer of cream cheese. You definitely want to spread it over the chicken. If you do dollops, you’ll get a big mouth full of cream cheese and as Aiden would say, “That’s just gross”. Anyway, it will look like this…

Chicken2

The cream cheese could have been spread more evenly before that picture was taken. Oh, well. Next, cover the top with shredded Mexican cheese. It probably takes two cups. I don’t know, I just cover the top. And when it looks like enough, I add a little more. Bake it at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Long enough to heat it through and melt the cheese.

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The final result is a nice cheesy, Mexican chicken casserole that you can add vegetables and maybe rice on the side, of course it will no longer be a carb free meal at this point.  Check it out. Looks good, right?

Chicken5

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked & shredded)

2 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon minced garlic

salt & pepper to taste

2 10oz cans of diced tomatoes & chilies

8oz cream cheese (the tub is easier to spread than the block)

2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes

 

 

Easter 2015

Easter 3This Easter was fun! I did a few things with Aiden that I just didn’t think he was old enough to enjoy last year.

Like, bunny juice boxes for his class party….

Easter 1

Easter 6

 

The Easter bunny left footprints inside the house (they had a rather baby powdery scent to them).

Easter 7We planted “magic beans” that grew into lollipops overnight.

Easter 5Out of a dozen, we had one egg that made it intact.

Easter 4And he finally got over his fear of characters, actually posing for a picture with the over sized fluff ball. It was a joyous occasion full of candy! So much so that Aiden might of had it for breakfast and dinner and then he threw up. Parenting fail, but that makes me a cool mom, right? Right?!

Momma Guilt.

When people find out you are having your first child, they are full of advice. Make sure you don’t eat nitrate filled processed meat, don’t under any circumstances have crib bumpers anywhere near his room, expect to not sleep for the next ten years, etc. The one thing I was never warned of is the immense feeling of constant guilt that happens directly after giving birth. From the time that baby is born you are worried that you have done something wrong. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough to breast feed. Should I of tried longer or hired a lactation consultant. How will this affect him? Will it stump his growth? Will he be overweight? Oh God, will it affect his brain growth, mental capacity, SAT scores? Will my selfish decision to give up trying to breastfeed prevent him from going to Harvard Law? It’ll all be my fault. His future is ruined. This is a pretty extreme example but it’s true none the less. I tried breastfeeding for four weeks. Eventually my husband walked in and said those magic words I longed to hear. “You will not be any less of a mother if we go buy formula”. He was right. But that would make me a failure. There are women out there that breastfeed their children until they can tie their own shoes. Are they better? Somehow more equipped to parent than me?

Fast forward a few months and it’s not much better. What do you mean he was suppose to have a nine month check up? I missed it? He’ll have to get extra vaccines at his one year check up to make up for it? Just kill me now. Call protective services, he deserves better.  He did survive the needles of course but I felt terrible. Even now, he’s one of the first ones at daycare and usually the last to leave. And on the rare occasions that he doesn’t want to go to school and says the sweetest things like, “Can’t you stay home with me, mommy?”, it tears me up. But the truth is, kids are resilient. We, as moms, are much harder on ourselves than we need to be. Not even five minutes ago I lost my temper with Aiden. I told him that he was driving me nuts and to go to his room (He’s annoyingly whiny these days). After I had a second to cool down, I went in to apologize to him and I asked, “Do you think mommy is mean to you?”. I braced myself for the usual, “You’re not my best friend anymore!” outburst but he surprised me. He hugged me around the neck and said “You’re a good momma. You’re nice. I love you……can I have candy?”steak&shake

Time for introductions…..

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Hello there and welcome. I’m still not exactly sure why I am starting this blog. I suppose I am hoping this will be a sort of virtual journal…. that is open to the public. I have been married since 2010 and have a son who is about to turn three. I’m trying to figure out this whole “mom thing” but it’s hard work. Throw in working full time and a husband and you could say my plate is pretty full, even overflowing at times. Here is where I will vent, ask for advice, express myself and hopefully get some much needed “me time”. It just so happens that while I was typing that last sentence, my rambunctious toddler is running through the house in a Superman costume screaming “Look, momma! I’m flyin!” Me time…that’s a joke.

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