With Labor Day around the corner I wanted to share a fun idea for a beach gathering. For a friend’s birthday she wanted to recreate a picture she had seen online of an amazing dinner at the beach. The picture had a low table, pillow floor seats and beautiful decor. Several of us worked together to make this happen. The table was made by her husband which consisted of two 4 x 8 sheets of plywood that was cut to make it easier for transport and drilled together at the beach. He stacked the plywood on top of 3 stacks of cinder blocks (2 each stack,) one on each end and one in the middle. One of her friend’s was in charge of decor which included beautiful white table cloths, towels and pillows to sit on, candle holders, and place settings. She even made a banner of torn extra fabric and strung it in the bamboo. Another friend strung lights in the same bamboo that was right besides our table. Myself and another friend were in charge of food, I made the tortellini bake that I posted yesterday and coordinated a potluck of other dishes. It was so much fun! We had at least 6 people stop us and ask what we were doing. As I posted yesterday, the sunset was beautiful! It was such a special night!
We LOVE using our dutch oven! The other day we went to a birthday party for a friend (sans bebe) and we were in charge of a main course. I had been wanting to try another pasta dish in the dutch oven when I came across this recipe. This is a delicious, hearty dish that feeds about 8-12 people with some leftovers. We complemented this dish with fresh bread and dipping sauce of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic. We also had salad, cheese and cracker appetizers and wine spritzers. It was awesome!!! It definitely felt like gourmet beach living. The sunset topped off the evening, it was epic! Hope you enjoy this recipe!
30 ounces cooked cheese tortellini (or a combination of cheese and pesto)
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
1/2 cup butter divided
12 ounces evaporated milk
3/4 pound brick cheese, cubed (I used an irish cheddar from Trader Joe’s)
30 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 cups shredded mozzarella
12 inch dutch oven
- Fire up your briquettes with enough to get the oven to 350 temperature (25 briquettes).
- Saute mushrooms, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper in 1/4 cup butter until mushrooms are tender.
- Combine milk and remaining butter. Bring to a gentle boil; stir in brick cheese until smooth. Stir in mushroom mixture, spinach and tortellini.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake 15-30 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown (change briquettes to 17 on top of lid and 8 underneath dutch oven.)
I’m all about doing prep work at home. This makes the camping/beach-going experience easier.
The following prep work that can be done at home prior to cooking:
Cube brick cheese
Thaw and drain spinach
I usually keep everything in separate Tupperware or plastic bags until it’s time to make the meal.
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I LOVE going to housewarming parties! It’s an awesome opportunity to get home decorating ideas and to come up with a fun housewarming gift. I had seen an idea similar to this on pinterest: give your friends or family some pantry items for a spaghetti night! I was limited on shopping time with a baby that was about to melt down so I went to two stores, did my grocery shopping and put the gift together in a matter of 45 minutes! It’s amazing how efficient I became after I had my baby. I first bought the biggest multifunctional colander I could find. Then I went to Trader Joe’s and went to town! (You can buy these ingredients at your favorite store.) I bought one jar of spaghetti sauce, one bag of spaghetti, one bag of their Parmesan crisps, two bottles of wine and two bars of chocolate. Other fun additions can be: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, biscotti and a fresh baguette.
Question for you: Have you ever given or received a fun housewarming gift? Any ideas?
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I love my job because I’m nosy, I don’t like to get too attached to my patients and because I like to be on my toes. Emergency room nurse is the perfect job for me. You will not believe the things I see and hear all day long. It’s nice to be able to visibly see patients improve in the short time that I am caring for them. It’s also nice because, unlike the rest of the hospital, I don’t have to spend all day with my patients. If they are nice, they are only with me for a few hours, if they are horrible, they are only with me for a few hours. I don’t like to get too attached to my patients because I’m a sap. Any nurse’s worst day will include a patient passing away after you have really gotten to know them. This happened the other day. The patient was with me for a few hours and I got to know her. She moved on to another department where she went to be with Jesus. No more than 30 minutes elapsed from my last conversation with the patient until the time she passed. I cried when I found out. I don’t mean to be morbid but it made me think that you never know when your last conversation will be and who it will be with. I found out things about her family, and children. We laughed and made fun of the doctors. That might have been the last conversation she had. This happened to me once before. I had gotten to know a gentleman and he coded on me. We couldn’t get him back, and his family was watching the whole thing. They saw we did everything we could. I can’t depersonalize the situation when I get to know my patients. Part of the appeal of the ER was the fact that I don’t have to get to know my patients because most of them would be too sick to even speak. Isn’t that terrible? What I learned from this situation is that it is worth it to get to know my patients. Turns out, I’m the one missing out. I also learned that I will never know if my conversation will be someone else’s last, so make it count: be engaged, ask questions, laugh with and get to know patients .
Naptime…..we have a love/hate relationship. Here are some of my thoughts on naptime:
*Why is it that when we travel, baby sleeps like a champ. When we get home, he naps for half the time and at irregular times.
*How does he know to wake up right when I’m about to start reading a book and about to sit down after I’ve finished cleaning?
*I love how he knows where the video monitor camera is and will smile at it, as if to say “Hi mom, I’m not tired in case that’s what you were thinking.”
*I love it when he sleeps with his butt in the air in the “stinkbug” position.
*I think it’s funny when I turn the video monitor on to check up on him, and see that he’s completely gone off the screen and into unchartered crib territory.
*I love it when he grabs his little feet and sucks on his toes.
*I love watching him suck his little thumb and quietly put himself to sleep.
*My favorite is when I come in to get him after he’s finished his nap to see him smiling and bucking his arms and legs because he’s so excited to see me ;) Love this little man.
Every couple of years we travel to Red Lodge for a family reunion. I had gone once before and it was awesome! I don’t think I had any expectations this year since there were going to be a good amount of firsts this time: first time flying with a baby, first time sleeping in the same room as the baby, and first time staying in the same house with 21 other people. It wonderfully exceeded all my expectations. Our little one slept like a champ for all his naps and during the night (he’s been sleeping through the night since about 10 weeks) and I hardly heard him make noise even though we were all in the same room together. It was neat to be able to enjoy this vacation with our little man, he was able to meet a lot of amazing family members on this trip. The only bummer was that he did scream for about 10 solid minutes on the flight home. I felt sorry for the people sitting next to us. I was so embarrassed and concerned as to why he was screaming that I was sweating and probably turned beet red. One thing I learned is to be prepared for teething at any time, little man broke his first two teeth while on the trip! Hooray! or not ;/ The adventures of nursing with teeth begin. Ah!
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Here is my compilation of items I brought (and items I wish I brought,) to the hospital when I was in labor. I recommend having it packed up one month before you are due. I would also recommend bringing two gift baskets: one for your labor and delivery nurses, AND one for your postpartum nurses (I totally forgot one for them….next time.) Coming from a nurse, we really appreciate it, and a little bit goes a long way! I will do another post on what I put in my basket.
*Nursing top- This will come in handy when you have visitors, or when you no longer want to wear the designer gown provided by your hospital. Be sure that your top is a bit larger than your pregnancy bust size. In my experience, when my milk came in my breasts got considerably larger, it was miraculous.
*Makeup- I know that this will be the last thing on your mind, but hear me out. Everyone will know that you have been in labor for 3600 hours before you had your baby. You don’t need to LOOK like you’ve been in labor all night for your guests and all the pictures that will be taken! I brought my makeup bag and had my sister come in 5 minutes before everyone else to help me put on makeup, and I am so glad I did! Looking back at all those pictures I don’t look like I was up all night vomiting, having diarrhea and the worst pain of my life.
*Boppy Original Nursing Pillow – Mom, this is for you, not your baby. I had never had a hemorrhoid in my life so I was completely blindsided. Hermee, the hemmorhoid paid me a nice little visit after the delivery of my little man. If I had known, I would have brought the Boppy to sit on while conversing with my guests. Instead, I had no idea and was cautiously trying to sit on the side of my butt to avoid putting any pressure on Hermee.
*Toiletries- don’t forget a toothbrush, toothpaste, your favorite shampoo, conditioner, soap and CHAPSTICK. If you’re like me, after labor your mouth feels like the sahara desert. I was stoked I brought some chapstick to help moisten those suckers.
*Nursing Bra- What I suggest you look for in choosing a good nursing bra: super comfortable material, you can unclip or pull it down in half a second, no underwire (can be uncomfortable and possibly cause plugged milk ducts,) and has a little give (for when you get super engorged.)
*Robe- In case you don’t want to flaunt your 5 month-pregnant-looking-postpartum body, I would highly suggest bringing a robe. I was shocked at how much my stomach resembled a waterbed after birth, no big deal, it’s just that I didn’t want to strut my stuff all over the hallways.
*Loose bottoms- Because there is nothing tight or constricting that you want to wear on your bottom half for months after you have a baby! Loose, Comfy, and dark (there will probably be lots of bleeding for awhile.) I recommend loose pajama bottoms or a loose, long, flowy skirt.
*Comfy shoes- I should have brought my awesome slippers. Even though I hardly walked while in the hospital, those steps would have been much more comfortable had I brought my favorite pair.
*Belly Band- I started to wear mine as soon as possible since I still looked pregnant after giving birth. It helped considerably!
*Cute outfit for the bebe (or two)-I was pleasantly surprised that the hospital I delivered at provided a photography service. I was able to get him photographed in my favorite newborn onesie.
*Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat- Because they won’t let you leave the hospital without one!
*Snacks- Because it’s ok for dad’s to eat just because you can’t! They need energy to deal with your pleasant self throughout labor (and you never know how long that can take.) I went to Target and loaded up on a bunch of my husbands favorite snacks. It would be a bummer if you went into labor in the middle of the night and the cafeteria at the hospital is closed. Therefore, bring food so your man is energized!
*Canon Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera- So he can document everything (almost.) I am so glad I brought my camera. Feel free to ask every visitor to take a different family picture of you and your little one. Can’t have enough of those. Apparently when you get a new baby you get a new camera (or at least we did after budgeting for one.) We got a really good deal on a Canon Rebel t5i.
*Phone and camera chargers- Do not forget these!!!! My phone was ready to die right after I got to the hospital because I had been timing my contractions all night. Glad we brought the chargers.
*Clothes and toiletries- So dad doesn’t look like he’s been up all night cleaning your vomit off the bathroom floor (this won’t happen to everyone, I just happened to be a lucky recipient, love you honey!!)
What you don’t need
*Underwear- You don’t need to get your new granny panties dirty right off the bat, the hospitals provide disposable mesh underwear. Use theirs.
*Pads- The hospitals do a great coldpack/pad/witch hazel/benzocaine combo. They will provide the most comfortable and dreamy pads your heart could desire.
*Diapers- The hospitals will provide diapers during your stay. They will even give you an in-depth tutorial on diaper changing.
*Pacifier- I know there are mixed feelings on pacifiers, but know that if your child is going to need one, they will provide one. My hospital had the “soothies” brand. My little man only used it during his circumcision and he took to that brand quite well.
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Please let me know if there is any must-have’s you would add to this list!!
This post was not sponsored, all these opinions are my own ;)