Visiting the pumpkin patch was a super fun and frugal activity for the family. The pumpkin patch at Tanaka Farms was $2 admission per adult. We didn’t pay for any extras: riding the train, horses, etc. Having a 7-month-old, we figured that he would be stoked if he could just sit and chew on the pumpkin stems all day. Turns out our little one is particularly fond of leaves and dirt; we caught him shoveling them into his mouth a few times during our visit. I can’t believe 7 months have gone by so fast!!
I have gotten my money’s worth out of our annual pass to the local mission. Since he has been born, I’ve gone at least 40 times. In the beginning that’s how I would get him to sleep: by walking him to the mission in his stroller. Every time I go it feels like I’m in Mexico, and it’s right around the corner from my house. We have been enjoying more awake time during the day while Baby O has been going through a nap transition. He’s decided he’s not going to take a third nap anymore. What does this mean? FREEDOM!!!!!!! Or at least 3.5 hours in the evening that we can be out and about, go to the beach, have dinners with friends, whatever we want. Yesterday we enjoyed a nice picnic with friends. It’s so funny how different life looks like now. Instead of taking our time eating our food, having uninterrupted conversations with each other, picnics now look like: making sure our children aren’t eating dirt, aren’t putting each other in choke-holds, and are keeping their bodily fluids to themselves. Sounds crazy, but it’s actually amazing. I love it.
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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.