Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

I asked Devon what he wanted to be for Halloween and he said,"Pooh" and never wavered. I found this cute Pooh costume online and it even has a stuffed "belly full of honey". When we first showed Devon his costume I wasn't sure if he would love it or cry. He walked up to it and hugged it so I knew we would be OK with getting him to wear it. I was not really interested in getting Audrey into a major costume since she's so little so I went to Savers, found a pink onesie, made some ears out of a wash cloth and headband, put some "baby legs" on her and she was Piglet. I feel a little guilty for not making her first Halloween costume more of a big deal, but seriously ... she's 3 months old! Regardless, I think they both looked so cute!

Don't they both look thrilled? Ha!

I took them to a Halloween party at this play group we go to on Friday morning. They had a few games, but it was too hot for poor little Pooh bear so we didn't stay for more than an hour. His costume is basically an arctic jacket with ears and pants so I'll need to be more careful next year with getting Devon to choose something more weather appropriate.

Friday night I thought it would be a nice family outing to go and get a pumpkin. We put Devon in a wagon and wheeled him around this huge tent and let him pick out two pumpkins to carve. It was a really nice set up. They had great live music, there was BBQ being cooked, beautiful orange, green and while pumpkins, tractors ... it was oddly peaceful being their with my sweet dolly asleep in my arms and Joe pulling Devon in a wagon.

Devon got to pet a goat, see the pigs and sit in tractors. I didn't know they were working tractors until he hit a button and the engine turned over. Oops!

The finished product.

Joe did the "Nighmare before Xmas" inspired one on the left and I did a classic happy face on the right.

On Saturday evening Joe's parents came over to see the kids in their costumes.

We met Jane and her family at the mall for trick or treating. They were Danny, Sandra and the pink ladies from Grease. Such a cute idea as a family concept.

Devon is still not really ready for Halloween so I didn't want to do door-to-door trick or treating anyway. 45 minutes of indoor candy getting was perfect for us. He got to see other kids in costume and I know he liked eating his suckers two at a time. He totally melted down when we tried to get him to eat dinner, but we went home and he was happily in bed by 7:15. It ended up being a pretty stressful experience for me and I don't think I was able to relax enough to really be able to enjoy it, but I think that Devon had a great time and in the end that's really what matters, right?

I have made a point of NOT eating Devon's candy ;) It's sort of lame when parents take their babies trick or treating just so they can have the candy. If he got something that he can't have (ie: jaw breakers) I just throw them out. He didn't get much candy anyway, but he got more candy than he's ever had in his life and it's kind of fun to indulge him this one time and let him taste it all. So far he likes suckers, air heads, sour candy and pixie sticks. The CUTEST thing by far is what he calls Twix candy bars. He calls them "chocolate toes". Hilarious.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Devon (October)

Devon is amazing. His language and understanding has totally shifted! It's pretty remarkable what he can remember and what he can say. Lately, when he gets upset I can ask him to be a nice boy, he quiets down and I am able to explain to him why he's not allowed to reach into the knife drawer or play with scissors or have 3 juice boxes at once ;)99% of the time this works and we can move onto something else.

Sometimes it doesn't work at all (he is 2 after all), but I am learning to be more patient ;) He is totally saying 4 and 5 work sentences and we have been working on turning those one word sentences into phrases like,"More milk please, Mama." Instead of just saying "more" or "milk" or "Mama" and pulling on me. He is learning the power of the word "please" and I must admit that I usually give him what he wants as long as he says please (as long as I don't have to remind him to say it). I don't give in every time, of course, but I think it's important for kids to learns manners at a young age.

Just this morning he was getting into the fridge and pointed to the egg carton and said,"Eggs come from chickens." I know that's not ground breaking news, but ... HE'S 2!!! Amazing.

Devon loves to play cars and trains complete with little boy sound effects. He got several tractors and "guys" (GI Joe type dolls) for his birthday and loves to carry them around. He is super fast on his little car and rides from one end of the house to another at top speed and somehow manages to stop just before slamming into the cabinets. Every time he does this I'm sure he's going to crash and he never does.

Devon loves to hold his sister. He is learning to be more gentle with her and to whisper when she is sleeping. He is happy to have her around while we play and I haven't seen any jealousy yet so maybe I won't.

You can't win all the time I suppose.

He is so funny! He says the most hilarious things sometimes I start to laugh which makes him laugh which makes me laugh .... it's funny.

He has been going into his play garden and using his imagination to pick tomatoes and squash. He will bring me handful of these imaginary fruits and I am expected to gobble them right up because he is coming right back with more.

He is starting to have some say in what he wears and definitely knows what he doesn't like. I make sure to praise him when he picks out something cute so he will be more likely to wear it again.

Any time he has two of anything he calls them "friends". Two peppers, two toys, two shoes ... friends. They often kiss and hold hands.

He decided that Pooh Bear needed to visit the beauty parlor for a wash and a curl.

Devon loves eating crasins, pumpkin cake, rice cakes, pokey sticks and tamarindo (this nasty, slightly spicy Mexican candy you squeeze through a tube). I started giving him a big boy bowl of Cheerios for breakfast and I think he loves eating out of a bowl all by himself. I remember giving him Cheerios when he was just a little baby so it's cute to see him being such a "big" kid. He is eating pretty well these days, but I still have to feed him to really get a full meal in that little belly.

I think he is finally coming out of his shell with other kids and now wants to give out hugs and fist bumps to his friends. I think his cousin Sadie helped him with that because she is so gentle and calm with him and they see each other once a week now. They even hold hands when we walk to the car through the parking lot. He is learning to really play with other kids sharing toys (instead of watching from my lap) and will wander away from me to play, something he doesn't do unless we're at home. If I'm not right there with him he will find me and drag me over to where he is playing. I don't mind, but it makes me happy that he's feeling comfortable and being more independent around other children.

I occasionally go to Trader Joe's when I need a few, specific things and they have these really cute kid sized carts. I let Devon push one around and I grab stuff off the shelf for him to put in his cart. He is quite the spectacle. He is very serious about this cart and pushing it. ;)

Devon has an amazing memory for names. He remembers kids' names he met twice and nearly every day he lists off (almost) every member of both sides of our family. My personal favorite is "Aunt Nick". I don't correct him either. Sorry, Aunt Nick ;)

Devon loves to run! He is so fast and runs even faster if the right music is playing. He learned how to jump all by him self so I have had to stop using phrases like,"Let's go jump in the tub." or "Jump down," because I don't really need to take a trip to the emergency for stitches ;)

I have been waiting until I ran out of size 5 diapers to officially begin potty training and that time is rapidly approaching. I think I feel this pressure to potty train him because "boys take longer" (not actually true so I wish people would stop telling me that. They potty train just as fast as girls sitting down, but they also have to learn to go standing up so people consider the standing part as "fully potty trained" ... lame), but I don't think either of us are ready. What's the rush? He can't even get his pants down by himself so I would have to take him every time. What's the point in that? I know it saves money on diapers, but really it can wait a few more months when things settle down a bit and he is a little more willing. Potty training can be very psychologically damaging or embarassing for kids if they are pressured to do it when they're not ready and I don't think a lot of parents think about that. They just want their kid trained first among their peers or they hate changing diapers or whatever. Regardless ... we're not ready yet ;)

Devon is such a tender boy. Even though he can be difficult to handle when his tantrums are in full swing, he is still a very sweet and thoughtful child. He seems to have genuine concern for people and wants to be a good helper all the time. Whether it's bringing Audrey a pacifier, giving out massages, throwing away garbage or cooking in the kitchen Devon loves to be helpful. He is so happy when he gets to be a "little chef" (from Ratatoulle, said in a high pitched voice) and help me pour or stir when I'm preparing food.

It's very cute to see Devon mimic me. If I am holding the baby he will go get a doll, wrap her in a blanket and sit next to me on the couch. I sometimes call Audrey "dolly" because she is such a doll ;) He puts his "dollars" in the cradle or pushes them in the swing. The red haired doll was mine when I was little.

This past month has been a tough one on many levels, but we are starting to get into a new routine and I am learning the activities that Devon truly likes. I try to make sure we do fun things everyday as well as spending quality time at home. Devon still follows his Daddy around the house everywhere he goes for every second that he's home. I love to see them interact and I am always inpressed (and a little envious) with the activities they do together. Joe made Devon a tee pee out of cactus ribs and a rocketship and a gun out of drawing paper. So creative, Daddy!

Joe and I are so in love with this little boy and count ourselves lucky everyday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chicken with black pepper maple sauce

You will lick your plate when you eat this. I promise. It is SO good and so easy to make. I am not a huge fan of simultaneously sweet and salty food, but this is an exception. It may sound like a lot of time and a lot of work, but it's not. While the chicken is cooking you make the sauce. Easy!


1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) whole chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 (3-inch-long) sprigs fresh rosemary plus 1 (1-inch-long) sprig
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup dark amber or Grade B maple syrup
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar

* Let me just start by saying that I use 4 chicken breasts. None of this cut-the-backbone-with-kitchen-shears-nonsense. Gross. Just use chicken breasts and it's perfectly good and less time consuming.* Carry on!

Cut out backbone from chicken with kitchen shears and discard. Pat chicken dry, then spread flat, skin side up, on a cutting board. Cut a 1/2-inch slit on each side of chicken in center of triangle of skin between thighs and breast (near drumstick), then tuck bottom knob of each drumstick through slit. Tuck wing tips under breast. Sprinkle chicken all over with salt and ground pepper.

* I took a large boiling pot and put my tea pot in it to weigh it down. I filled the tea pot with water. You really do need to use a weight so the chicken gets that lovely crunch to the outside. I can't figure out how to get the crunch AND get the inside of the chicken to stay moist, but I don't care. I'd rather have crunchy dry chicken than not crunchy moist chicken.*

Heat 3 tablespoons butter in 10-inch cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add chicken, skin side down, and arrange larger rosemary sprigs over chicken. Cover with parchment round and second skillet, then top with weights. Cook chicken until skin is browned, about 15 minutes. Remove and reserve weights, top skillet, parchment, and rosemary, then carefully loosen chicken from skillet with a spatula. Turn chicken over and re-place rosemary sprigs, then re-cover with parchment, skillet, and weights. Cook until chicken is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more.

*Let me start again by saying I don't bother toasting whole peppercorns and crush with a rolling pin unless I REALLY have time to do it. And who really cares, anyway? I just use ground pepper. * Carry on!

Make sauce while chicken cooks:
Toast peppercorns in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board and coarsely crush with a rolling pin. Return peppercorns to saucepan and bring to a simmer with syrup, 1/2 cup broth, and small rosemary sprig, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter and loosely cover with foil. Add vinegar to skillet and deglaze, boiling and scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in maple mixture and remaining 1/4 cup broth and boil until slightly syrupy, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and swirl in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season sauce with salt and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Serve chicken with sauce.

I made this with herbed potatoes and used the maple sauce on the chicken and as dipping sauce for my potatoes ... then I licked the plate ;)

De-vine. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Bread (Muffins)

I love pumpkin flavored food. Starbucks has a seasonal latte that is pumpkin spice and I order it skinny and tall with a piece of pumpkin bread. It's a little bit of heaven inside my car as I drive. I shared my bread with Devon and he calls it pumpkin cake so I decided to make some. I got this recipe from (where I get most of my recipes, by the way). I made two batches of muffins in two days and both times they turned out perfectly so it's a good recipe for muffins. I will say that I thought the loaf was over done and I would have to adjust the recommended cooking time if I really wanted to have bread, but I prefer the muffins anyway.

I used a cool leaf muffin tin that my Mom gave me from Williams Sonoma ... fancy. I got 36 muffins from one batch.

My sister, Jane, doesn't like pumpkin bread, but she liked these. They aren't too pumpkiny and they are a great spice cake for "fall" here in Tucson where we can still wear tank tops and flip flops.


3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

*For muffins, I bake at 375 for 15 minutes.


Audrey: 3 months

We are so in love with this sweet, little girl.
She has definitely started smiling and showing off that dimple! All I have to do is start talking or smiling at her and she smiles away. She loves it when I lay her down and let my hair wash over her face. She kicks and waves her arms. Joe tells me she thinks I am magical. Ok ... I'll accept that ;)

She is cooing and melting my heart with those first baby sounds. She used to make all kinds of grunts and groans and Joe and I would look at each other and laugh at how "unlady like" she sounded, but now all that has changed.

Devon loves to snuggle with his baby sister. When he says "hold" he runs to the couch, gets into position and waits for me to bring Audrey to him so he can hold her. He is so excited to have her on his lap and giggles back at her when she smiles at him. He is so interested in her it's cute to watch them get to know each other.

He points out her hair, fingers, eyes, stomach and toes. He loves to stroke her hair, give her hugs, kisses, high-5s and fist bumps. He covers her with blankets and gives her a pacifier even though she doesn't really take them.

She is officially a thumb sucker. I have tried to take her thumb out of her mouth and give her a pacifier, but she spits it right out (if she takes it at all) and her thumb goes in. It's pretty adorable and it is easier than trying to track down a pacifier, but I'm sure breaking her of that habit will be tough.

Audrey sleeps from 9:00pm to 5:00 or 6:00am. No kidding. It's heaven and I thank her everyday for letting me sleep. She truly has made her entrance into this world easy in more ways than one. I love to pick out something cute and girly for her to wear everyday and I love, love, love that I can put her hair in pony tales. I can't wait for "winter" when I can put her in tights, sweaters and hats.

I love to squish her arms and legs ... she is SO soft! She definitely is my chunky baby and Devon was my little bird. She had her 3 month appointment today and had 6 shots. It took forever to get her on our insurance so we are a month behind on her shots, but she's still within a good time range so we're not "technically" behind. She is 90% for height (24.5 inches), 50% for head size (16.5) and 70% for weight. She weighed 15 pounds on my home scale, but the doctor said she only weighed 12. Does that mean that I weigh 3 pounds less? ;)I asked my pediatrician if you can over feed a breastfed baby and he said YES. I'm not over feeding her (I asked ;) since she goes 4-6 hours in between feedings.

I love wearing her in a pouch everyday and getting to hold her close. It's a MUST, in my opinion, when you have a 2nd kid to have a baby wearing system of some sort. It's an easy way to be hands free to play with the first child, the 2nd baby gets lots of snuggle time plus all the benefits of baby wearing (IE: easily comforted, good sleepers, voice recognition, lots of bonding time with the parent, etc) you're not having to carry the baby in your arms all the time (saving your arms and back from getting tired) and the baby isn't just being left on the floor. I use them at the grocery store so I don't have to lug a car seat around and she stays asleep so I don't have to worry about a meltdown.

This is my view of her in the Ergo carrier with the infant insert. (Check out those lashes!) It is a little bulky with the insert, but it just clips on so it is super easy to wear. She falls asleep almost instantly and stays asleep when I transition her to her crib. I couldn't do without this carrier. I use it everyday (and used it with Devon until he was almost 2) and it's my favorite. I also like the Moby wrap when babies are little because it holds them close, the fabric is super soft and they can be held in lots of positions.

She must have been holding it in all these months, but she has found her lungs and knows how to use them! She usually only cries when she's really, really tired, but she lets me know it for sure. The first time she cried I almost stripped her down to her diaper because I was sure something had bitten her ... she was that loud. It is still a little jarring when it happens, but we are figuring it out I am learning about her and how she likes to be soothed.
2 ponies!

Audrey loves to smile at her Daddy and it's cute to see them together with their matching hair. It's surprising that I have been asked on more than one occasion if she's mine. Seriously. I get it that Devon is so blonde and I am so blonde and Audrey is so dark, but seriously people ... genes can do amazing things! I have been asked if she's mine, if she's adopted or if Devon is from a different relationship than the one I'm in now. I know ... rude. I just smile and say no and make a mental note NOT to talk to them again.

I love to take her shopping and I treasure my one-on-one time with her. The second child usually doesn't get held or stared at as much as the first, so it's nice when it's just the two of us. She loves to be held close and I often soothe her by turning on some music and "dancing" around the room. That seems to work and I love that time with her.

There was a moment the other day when I had Audrey on one leg and Devon on the other and we were all snuggled together on the couch. It brought tears to my eyes to have both my babies in my arms. I'm sure as they get older those tender moments will become even sweeter.

I feel so lucky to have a daughter.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Why is it so hard to make friends?

Real friends. Not acquaintances, but real call-you-and-we-talk-and-go-shopping-and-hang-out-without-our-kids type friends. I'm a normal girl. I would like a few normal friends please. WHY is that so hard to do?

Honestly, most women annoy me for some reason or another so it's no wonder that my contacts list isn't bursting at the seams ;) I don't want that either. I don't want lots of friends. I want two. Maybe three, but I want REAL friends.

As a Mom I totally understand not wanting to call and talk on the phone. Some days when I can manage to get both kids to sleep at the same time the last thing I want to do is get on the phone and talk about kids and kid stuff.

Finding time and energy to go out and do something with a friend is difficult, too. I know how much preparation it takes to leave the house with out your kids. It sometimes feels like it takes more preparation to leave with out them than with them and there's the guilt of leaving them home, but I digress. But I think that girlfriend time is important. I go out at night by myself and go shopping and that's nice too, but spending time with another Mom is nice in it's own way.

I've never had lots of friends ... let's just be honest here. I always had friends, of course, but I was never the girl with a million friends. The only friend I still have (that's a true friend that I talk to with any regularity) is Joe and I married him so no one can really compete with that ;)

Since I became a Mom I have realized that making friends is difficult. It's easy to pass the time and go to play groups, but it has been difficult for me to forge any true friendships (with one exception and she knows who she is ;)

I have gone to a few play groups. Some with kids and some just women getting together and going out with out kids and I always thought I was "in" with these groups of women.

Ultimately, something would happen and I would see that I was very clearly not in at all. If you have been going to a play group for a while and want to know if you're "in" the group here's how you can tell ... if you don't know who's in or who's out ... it's you. You're out. You're not in the "in" group. You're there and playing and they're talking to you, but you're not "in" the group.

They all get together and do other playgroups and outings with THE SAME group of women, but they don't invite you. WHY this happens ... I don't know. Why are you invitable to a playgroup, but not out to lunch or shopping or a movie? It sucks when you realize that has happened. It's embarrassing and it shouldn't be, but it is.

WHY can't I just enjoy the play group and not let the other stuff bother me? Maybe I'm too sensitive. Maybe I'm desperate and they can sense that. Maybe I get on their nerves after one day and they can't handle another. You don't have to invite everyone to everything all the time. You don't have to be friends with everyone. Not everyone is going to like me and I get that. Trust me ... I annoy myself sometimes ;)

The point is ... making true friends is difficult.


Monday, October 11, 2010

It's not always about the kids

I started this blog as a way for my family members to stay updated and see pictures of my rapidly growing kids. I did movie reviews for a while (lame), posted about going out with "friends" (even more lame) and I still do recipes even though I'm pretty sure no one cares but me ;)I feel like I should take my turn and update about my self every now and again, share random thoughts and talk about something other than just "the kids". I may never do this again, since I tend to be a private person, but I can always delete it later, right? ;)

I miss my grandma today. My mom's mom ... I miss her. She died when I was 8 or 9 and today I miss her. She collected EVERYTHING. Gnomes, ornaments, plates, and cards off of gifts she received. You know those little rectangle cards that say to & from so-and-so ... she collected those. I remember each of her houses and hearing the screen door swing shut. I remember playing cards with her and sharing a shredded chicken and sprout sandwich, washing it down with Kefir milk and "treating" myself to a malt tab from her pantry. I still eat my sandwiches with sprouts (and converted my husband to do the same) and I still drink Kefir milk because of her. I would eat malt tabs, but I don't know where you even get them anymore. She was fun. She let us play with all her costume jewelry. I remember playing in the snow in her backyard. I remember how sweet she was. She never raised her voice and was never mean to me. I wish she could have met my kids. They would have loved her and missed her, too.

I hate when people flippantly say,"I'm doing the best I can." Really? Really?! Are you really? I think most of the time people are just doing what they do, but not their best. It takes lot of effort to actually do the best you can and I don't think people care enough enough of the time to actually do their best.

I feel guilt. Mom guilt. Wife guilt ... I feel that all the time. Like I'm not doing enough or something. Spinning my wheels. My kids are happy and thriving and my husband appreciates me so I know the pressure I feel is self inflicted. I feel like all I can do right now to keep up with life is to be two steps behind. Anything I do to prepare for the next day seems to just make room for more stuff to get done. I guess that just comes with the territory these days. I worry constantly. Constantly. I worry about Devon falling down and hurting himself and breaking his arm or worse. I guess that comes with the territory, too.

I gained 31 pounds when I was pregnant with Audrey. I hired a trainer for a month and I still have 13 to go and it SUCKS! Loosing weight sucks. Carrying around extra weight sucks even more. I have friends who just loose the weight no problem and I feel like I am slugging it out at the gym. I don't want to be thin ... I want to be fit! Yeah, I could just not eat and loose weight, but that's not healthy so what's the point?!?! Do you know a skinny fat person? I do. They're the kind of people who don't work out, don't eat much or eat poorly, but are skinny anyway. In fact, they brag about NOT working out. Skinny fat person. I don't want to be a skinny fat person because that's not healthy. I do want to be skinny so I guess I just have to keep slugging it out at the gym.

I'm cranky today, can you tell? ;) My car didn't pass emissions (for the 2nd time) and it is getting worked on at the mechanic. We are at home all day. It's one thing to choose to stay home, but it's another to HAVE no choice.

In spite of being home all day the main upside is I get true, uninterrupted time with each child separately. When we go out it is nice to do something different, but sometimes I feel like I'm just trying to get through it without anything "going wrong" instead of enjoying it. Or, I try so hard to get Devon to try something new (that he hates) he doesn't have as much fun as I hoped he would and all the work it took to go out feels like a waste. I love it that he would rather stay home playing cars with Mama than go somewhere. He's a pretty laid back kid when it comes to that sort of thing. When we're home I can relax a bit more. I don't have to wear make up or get dressed up. It's a lot of work to pull myself together and quite frankly, sometimes I just don't feel like doing it. I get to watch Devon and his pretend play with cars and trucks. I get to watch Audrey smile and coo. It's nice. I'm lucky to be someone who enjoys being home more than going out.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Freezing Day

I used the frozen chicken and salsa (that I cooked, chopped and froze) the other day to make enchiladas and not only did they taste great, but it took me about 15 minutes to put the whole meal together. It normally takes me about 45 of stop and start preparation so I was really happy to save some time. Plus, I only had to wash a few bowls so clean up was super easy.

I decided to make a few more frozen dinners and see how they turn out before I start making it a regular thing. I made spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce and meatballs. I also thawed a bag of salsa and chicken and made Mexican Casserole for dinner that night.

In one nap time (3.5 hours ... thank you, Devon!) I made 4 meals. It was sort of a production and it took the entire 3.5 hours (with cooking and clean up), but that's 3.5 hours that won't take away from spending time with my kids or with Joe.

This past Saturday I was too tired to go to the store and get food to cook. I pulled out the meatballs and marinara sauce and voila! ... dinner. And I only had to use 2 pots. One for the sauce and one to cook the pasta. It was so awesome. I always make sure to lable what's inside, the date, the oven temp I cook it at and cooking time. I also found that laying things as flat as possible when you freeze them makes thawing time shorter.

When I made the marinara sauce I made it very basic. I just used salt and pepper, 1 large can of tomatoes, 1 can of sauce, 1 can of paste, 1 onion and some garlic then I froze it. Once I got the sauce thawed out I added fresh tomatoes from the garden as well as some fresh basil and oregano. I let the meatballs thaw enough to be broken up, but added them to the sauce cold and let them simmer until they were cooked through. It was so good! For the meatballs I did 2 lbs. ground beef, 1 lb. ground turkey, some parsley, salt and pepper, 1/2 C. Parmesan cheese and 2 eggs. I made the meatballs very small so they would thaw easily and they would be more appealing to Devon.

I don't know why more Moms don't freeze food for dinner. I am all about fresh food and I still cook fresh meals 95% of the time. However, at this stage of my life I am all about doing things that can make my day-to-day life a little easier and freezing a meal (or part of a meal) here and there has really helped me. I went to Costco yesterday and got a huge tray of pork chops. Going to try out a new recipe for them tonight and freeze the rest for another day!