Freezing Food for Newborn Days

Yesterday a friend of mine was asking how my husband was doing and if he was excited about the new baby.  I explained that I think he’s the one nesting lately, not me.   He’s cleaning and organizing and replacing things around here that needed to be replaced for a long time.  It’s probably in part because he remembers how hazy and busy that first month with a new baby can be, and he knows home improvement won’t happen for a long time.

I wish I could get the cleaning bug as part of my last month of pregnancy hormonal fluctuations.  I know for most people “nesting” is a phenomenon that has them rewashing baby clothes and organizing some long-forgotten bathroom cabinet or something.  So far, I cannot seem to get motivated in that regard.  In fact, I am ashamed to tell you that the nursery is not quite complete yet.  Close, but not done.  (Which is extra funny considering I think my son had clean sheets on his bed at 26 weeks gestation.)  I am 35 going on 36 weeks, and I need a push to finish these sorts of things.

But the one area where I think my nesting instincts are taking hold is my kitchen.  I’ve written before about the glory of freezer cooking and how it helps a busy weeknight come together or a sleepy morning go more smoothly.  I didn’t discover this until my son was about 9 months old, but it would have been so helpful in those early days.  This time I have another mouth to feed, of course.  And I know Jude’s world will feel really different no matter what I do, but I like the idea that he can still sit down at the same table with the same parents during the first few weeks of this transition.

I’ve mostly used Once a Month Mom as my resource for recipes and ideas, and I wanted to link them here as well.  I’m trying to do a good mix of dairy-free and regular recipes in light of a lot of newborn’s sensitivities to dairy in the early weeks.  I was lucky with my son that I could eat anything at all and he was never bothered, but you never know, so I wanted to be at least somewhat prepared for that possibility and not have a freezer full of food I couldn’t eat.  Once a Month Mom now has a dairy and gluten free menu every month, and while I don’t care to limit gluten, I used that menu to get some dairy-free ideas since 99% of my freezer recipes involve cheese, cream, or milk.   So far, I have managed to cook and freeze the following:

Breakfast: Chocolate-Strawberry Scones, Dairy-Free Carrot Raisin Muffins, and Sausage Balls.  Still on the agenda: Berry Baked French Toast and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins.  We are big egg-eaters around here, so if I pair an egg with just one muffin or scone, that’s enough.  We should have breakfast taken care of for at least 3 weeks on my calculations, I think.

Lunch: Dairy Free BBQ Beef Sandwiches and Whole Wheat Rolls, Pita Pizzas.  Still on the agenda: Dairy-Free Chicken Taquitos, and “Tacos in a Sleeping Bag.”  (My kid LOVES those!)

Dinner: Dairy-Free Cajun Chicken ready for the grill, Tex-Mex Ravioli Casserole.  Still on the agenda: Chicken Divan, Baked Ziti, Dairy-Free Slow Cooker Greek Chicken, Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Artichokes, Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushrooms

A few extras like mashed potatoes for a quick side dish and a couple of rounds of pizza dough should help, too.  I also hit up the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe’s for a few favorites, which for us means Crispy Orange Chicken, Fried Rice, Chicken Tacos, and Croissants.

We have a small chest freezer in the basement, so most of it is stored down there – mainly so I won’t be tempted to dive in to it before the baby arrives.   I just used old paper grocery bags and labeled them for various meals to make things more simple.


Most of the dinner entrees really won’t fit in the dinner bag, so they will be stacked beside it instead.  Still though, walking downstairs to get food and throwing it in the microwave, the oven, or the Crockpot is ten times easier than making something from scratch, and I’m excited to reap the rewards next month.  On the whole, it’s taken far less time than one would think since I typically just double something we are eating tonight and freeze a portion.  I’ve used Jude’s nap time to cook and freeze as well which is always helpful with an hour or two alone.

I am a little lost on the dairy-free menu, so any suggestions on things of that variety that freeze well would be greatly appreciated.  Send them my way!

Holiday Recipes

I’m guilty of using this blog to chronicle some things for myself, namely recipes.  Just a few nights ago, I typed “cabbage rolls” in to the search bar to find this post because I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere, and I knew I remembered linking here at some point.  Although from time to time, I also hear from some of you that you tried something I mentioned here, and that always makes me feel like a much more accomplished cook than what I really am.

So here are a couple of recipes we enjoyed last week that I want to keep up with for my own sake, but I also wanted to pass on to you……

A delicious Cranberry Pie

Cranberry Pie

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe that she details with a ton of photographs here, but the basic idea is simple: mix two cups of cranberries and 1/2 a cup of chopped pecans, dump it in a buttered pie plate and sprinkle 2/3 cup of sugar on it.  Now mix one cup of flour, one cup of sugar, one stick of melted butter, 2 eggs, a pinch of salt, and one teaspoon of almond extract.  Pour that over the berries.  Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 oven, and sprinkle sugar on top in the last 5 minutes of baking.  It’s really the pie that nobody can mess up.  I’ve made it with fresh cranberries, with frozen ones, without almond extract when I didn’t realize I was out of it, with a little less sugar when I wanted it tart….. all sorts of ways and really it can’t go wrong.  It’s delicious and a perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

Hoping to make up for all that butter, I also made a kale salad.

Kale Salad

I know the idea of raw kale is enough to scare anyone, but it’s really good, I swear!  I do a variation on this recipe.  Chop one bunch of Lacinto kale, sometimes called black kale.  (It’s really important that you get that type because the greener variety can taste rubbery and too strong.)  Mince 1-2 cloves of garlic, add the juice of one lemon, three tablespoons of olive oil, a dash of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of kosher salt.  To that, I add about 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and pour it over the kale. Toss and let it marinate for an hour or so.  The greens hold up really well under the oil, and I even put leftovers in the fridge to eat over the next few days without getting a soggy salad.

There are a million other yummy-looking recipes I’ve spotted on a table or in a magazine or online in the past few weeks.  With so many reasons to look forward to this time of year, food is no exception.  I’m attending Jenna’s fun cookie swap next weekend, and I can’t wait to walk away with a ton of new recipes from that as well.  So much to cook, so little time.. or so little room in the waistline for most of us.

I know I’ve been getting plenty to eat because I’ve watched myself grow from this one month ago.

12 weeks

… to this right now.

16 weeks
Yep, folks.  The belly popped.  It’s such a fun time of year to be looking on to bright and new things.  Happy Wednesday, reader, and as of tomorrow, happy December! Hope you are holiday-ing and baking and reminiscing and doing all the things that December calls for.

just writing

I’m trying to get back in the swing of this since posting has been slow lately.  I used to write even if I didn’t really have anything to say, and lately I feel like I have to have a real reason to sit here, so I’m just writing today.  There are no transitions here, reader.

I think Jude looked at a calendar and saw that he is turning two this week and decided to start the real tantrums  Because I thought I knew what a tantrum was, but as it turns out, I didn’t.  And yesterday he showed me what it really means when you pitch a fit over something like not wanting to get out of your car seat in the garage which is something we all could get passionate about, I suppose.  The terrible twos have really arrived, I think.  And I am telling myself that I want him to have an independent spirit and that all of this is perfectly developmentally appropriate.  But it’s still hard.

I think it’s the combination of so many new birthday toys and some stale things that need to change around here, but my house is driving me insane this week.  Everyday I have a to-do list of things that should be crossed off, and everyday I fall short.  I’m thinking I need to make a list with one thing on it, and then I can feel accomplished.

My kitchen is also a bit stale.  I’m realizing I make the same fifteen or so dishes over and over and over and that I am really bad at side dishes, as in 99% of what I make these days seems to be a one-pot meal.  So I signed up for Relish Relish with a Mamapedia deal this week.  I’m ready for it to bring something new here in my kitchen.  I think I’ll start today with some iced pumpkin cookies. 

Working on bringing my mojo back at home, in the kitchen, and on this blog.  If I say it aloud here, it will happen right?

Choo Choo, Jude is two! (our train birthday party)

Last year we threw a huge carnival birthday bash for the big number one, but we decided to do something a little smaller this year since our fall has been pretty busy around here, and I wasn’t sure I could tackle another big party lately.  So we had family and a couple of close friends over on Saturday to celebrate Jude’s second birthday boxcar style, and it was so fun!

It all started with Jude’s obsession over Virginia Lee Burton’s Choo Choo children’s book, and it kind of grew from there.  I wanted to go more classic train / hobo boxcar riding sort of feel rather than Thomas the Train which meant that I couldn’t depend on any pre-made party stuff because Thomas is EVERYWHERE.  (Not that I have a problem with Thomas.  Jude has a couple of little Thomas the Train books and toys people have given him, and he loves them.  I’m just not a fan of branding in the sense of wearing shirts to advertise or throwing parties devoted to one certain character.  Plus he never watches the show, and the idea was to do something the birthday boy would love!)  

It came together really well, and it was so simple and easy to do.  Most of these ideas are borrowed from Pinterest or internet stumbles, so borrow away if you have a train-obsessed little like I do and you want to use this theme.   (By the way, I never watermark my photos even though I know I should, but my previous birthday party posts are by far the most read entries on this blog, so I marked these pictures for people who stumble on it.)


For decorations, I ordered some cheap red and blue bandanas from Oriental Trading Company, and I used those everywhere.  It was affordable and cute, and now I have a million bandanas in my party bin, so maybe one day I’ll know someone having a western party or something, and they’ll get some more use.  I saw this great collage on Pinterest, and I decided to do one for our party as well.  It was easy to put together, and guests really liked seeing the progression of the past year, I think.  Kids change so much between one and two; it’s crazy to look back!


I used the bandanas on the drinks table by typing them on some twine and then combining them with a simple railroad sign from yellow posterboard.  This photo was taken after the party when guests had already consumed most of it, but you get the idea.  I layered brown craft paper with newspaper, and we served drinks in classic mason jars to keep things looking homemade and old.  Jude was really pumped to have juice boxes in the house because he normally gets water with a splash of juice.  I guess it’s the little things.

I also set up a table outside and used the bandanas there, too.  I layered them over the brown paper and then used some simple mums for fall decor.


The food spread was simple, and I assembled most of it the day before so that I only had to throw things in the oven the morning of the party.  Jude loves breakfast food, so we had a brunch at 10:30am with some of his favorite eats.  The breakfast casserole I used is the one we eat every Christmas morning.  You assemble it the night before, store it in the fridge, and then just place it in the oven.  It’s a passed-down recipe and really delicious!  I’ll share the recipe sometime when it won’t get lost in a long party post.
food table

In my internet perusing of train parties, I saw the terms “chugga chugga” and “chew chew,” and I thought they were so clever that I had to steal them.

With a birthday in October, it’s hard to say no to some kind of fall treat.  Last year it was Martha’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and this year is was Pumpkin Spice Latte in the crockpot.  Perfect for a fall brunch!

For packaging favors, I really wanted to do hobo sticks for the kids like this Pinterest find. But then I remembered that there would be toddler boys present, and long sticks were maybe a bad idea, so I ended up bundling the favors in a bandana and just placing them on the gifts table.  It is sort of like a hobo bindle without a stick, I guess.

Inside each bundle was a train conductor hat for each kid, and I loved that they were inexpensive, fun, and not candy.  One party-goer wore it especially well.
Jack the Train Conductor

And each family also got a CD of train songs hand-picked by my husband.  That was totally his project, and he did it well.  I forgot to get a photo of the CDs all together, but we had an awesome list of songs.  There’s a lot of good train music out there!

Birthday Party-p0017

Lastly, I didn’t make my own cake or cupcakes this year, so we used a local bakery whom we love and who did our wedding cakes years ago.  I wanted them to go opposite of cartoon colors and trains, so they made a simple and classic looking cake that was pretty delicious, too.

cake time

All in all, it was such a fun party, and I loved putting it together.  Jude really sort of “got it” more this year than before, and it makes me excited for the holidays around the corner as well!  There are a million other great train party ideas that I’d love to tackle, but one can only do so much, I guess.  Check out my Pinterest board for lots of other cute ideas I ran across.

fall fun

Life has been full and busy lately, and I miss the time I used to spend here.  We have lots going on, and I hope to explain more soon.  There are just a couple of weeks until Jude’s second birthday party, and I’m also on the committee to plan a college alumnae function that is in the works as well.  Planning for big events, while it takes time of course, can be just as fun as the event itself sometimes.  I have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks, and I am excited to share some of these things with you as well.

This past week brought some fun impromptu events, which are just as enjoyable as the big ones we plan for.  We explored at Cartersville’s Tellus Museum.

at the Tellus Museum

at the Tellus Museum

And we also visited an apple orchard in northern Georgia that has its own petting zoo.  Jude was in heaven in a sea of goats.

Hillcrest Orcahrds, Ellijay

Goats really like Jude.

feeding goats some grass

There is so much to see and do and discover at this age, and watching him figure things out never gets boring or tired for me.  I love it.
at the apple orchard

So now I’m swimming in catch-up work from a week of fun and laziness and also swimming in apples from the orchard trip.  We’ve enjoyed apple-cinnamon pancakes and my favorite apple cake with caramel glaze, and I think I’m on to baking and freezing some muffins next.  It’s still t-shirt weather here, but fall is in full-bloom nevertheless.  Hope your week is filled with happy things!

Summer Fun


I cleaned out my freezer this weekend, and I’ve realized that cleaning a freezer or pantry is easily the best way to save at the grocery store.  My bill at Whole Foods was less than $60 for a full week of food because I realized I have a lot here already. Among the things I found in my freezer were a ziplock bag of blueberries from last summer’s berry harvest and a few frozen bananas. I always throw overripe bananas in the freezer rather than the trash, thinking I’ll make bread or something with them.  And of course I never do.

I also ventured to Target for odds and ends last week and saw some popsicle molds for $2.99, and I decided I needed them. I threw some blueberries and bananas straight from the freezer to the blender, and I added a few spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt, and the result was especially delicious.



It’s incredibly messy and an outside-only treat, but it’s also one that I don’t feel guilty for giving twice a day.


So much summer fun to be had this year. Such a great age for exploring and loving the little things!

Freezer Cooking, The Sequel

About 9 months ago, I documented my insane freezer cooking extravaganza, and it is one of the most commonly viewed entries on this blog.  Make-ahead meals, or “freezer cooking,” is an idea that is gaining popularity lately, and I can see why.  For families who work outside the home, there are only a few precious hours between when you arrive home from work and when you head to bed, and most of us probably don’t want to spend all of that in the kitchen.  For those of us who are home with small children, dinner can be a challenge for other reasons.

Generally speaking, I love to cook, and when the stars align, making dinner can be my favorite part of the day.  But that is a rare occurrence lately.  I don’t know what it is about the hours of 5:00-7:30pm, but some weird spell comes through this house, and a toddler who might have been reasonably well-behaved for much of the day suddenly turns in to a monster.  It’s not as simple as placing him in the living room with his dad because my husband travels often for business, and even when he’s here, Jude usually decides it’s a good time to plaster himself to my leg and refuse to leave without a major fight.  There are two ways that dinner gets on the table around here:  my Ergo carrier or my freezer.


I tried a full Once a Month Mom menu last August, and I was really grateful to have so many choices of prepared food at my disposal, but over time, I’ve discovered that what works best for me is to cook or prep a couple of meals at a time and not get so overwhelmed with making a million things at once.  For me, this usually happens about once a week during nap time, but if I still worked outside the home, I’d do it on Saturdays or Sundays like I used to do babyfood when I worked and made frozen purees on Sunday afternoons.

Once a Month Mom is an awesome source, whether you are doing the full menu or just a piece of it.  She also has an allergy-friendly menu up now and a whole foods menu which I am super excited about.  A vegetarian one is coming soon, too. She’s been busy over there!


Without further rambling, I’ll share my favorite freezer cooking recipes:

  • Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff – I discovered this one when I did OAMM last fall.  You do the prep work for it and place it all in a ziplock bag, but then you cook it in the slow cooker the day you eat it, so it tastes completely fresh and delicious.  I usually prep about two or three of these at a time, and then they last me for a couple of months.
  • Southern Living’s Tex-Mex Casserole – This is admittedly not company-worthy fare.  It’s sort of an old-school casserole where you throw together some unlikely ingredients and they come out yummy.  It’s good food though, and sometimes I crave that type of meal.  It’s simple, inexpensive, and freezes well.
  • Penne with Chicken, Artichokes, and Sun-dried Tomatoes – This is on our menu for Sunday night, and after that I have two more in my freezer.  Pair it with a salad, and it makes a great dinner.
  • Strawberry Chocolate Chip Scones – Need I say more after that title?
  • Oatmeal Raspberry Scones – This is a recipe from Annie’s Eats that was also featured on a past OAMM menu.  They are delicious, filling, and reheat really well in only 45 seconds in the microwave.  A perfect little breakfast.
  • Baked Ziti – A great way to use summer tomatoes and fresh basil.
  • Passionate Homemaking’s Chicken Divan – Do it “the long way” with homemade cream of mushroom soup.  It’s worth it.  This dish is so so good.
  • Red Lentil Soup – I put the whole thing in the blender because I like a smoother lentil soup, but either way it’s good stuff.  I loved having some in my freezer this fall and winter.
  • Vanderbilt Wife’s Black Beans and Brown Rice – I discovered this through an old OAMM menu, and we like it a lot.  It’s simple and really frugal.
  • Squash Soup [my own recipe] – Again, never underestimate the pleasure of having homemade soups at your disposal during cooler months.
  • Toddler-friendly Veggie Nuggets [my own recipe] – I don’t understand how Jude is not completely sick of these by now.  He eats them at least four or five times a week.  They are always in my freezer.  I made a fresh batch this week, and they are a great way to use up leftover vegetables.
  • pizza dough – I follow Breadbecker’s recipe now that I mill my own grains, but here is one from Once a Month Mom.  It’s handy to have some in the freezer and get creative with the toppings.

There are definitely many more than this out there, so look around.  The best thing I learned doing my crazy cooking experience in August is that you can freeze almost anything, so old recipes can adapt to this as well.  The other great thing about all of this is that it offers a creative way to preserve seasonal ingredients.  Last summer when yellow squash was abundant and in season, I made two huge pots of squash soup and froze it to eat in the fall.


This week I cashed in on the strawberries sale at my local Whole Foods Market and made a few dozen scones.

... and since I was cooking during afternoon nap time, I totally stole one for an afternoon treat with coffee. DELICIOUS.

I also used some of my fresh basil for a few rounds of baked ziti with homemade marinara since my basil really needed to be trimmed anyhow.

And I used up some leftover vegetables for some of Jude’s toddler veggie nuggets.

My advice is to just give it a try and see how you like having a few dishes in your freezer.  The breakfast ideas are especially useful since none of us typically have the time to make a good breakfast on a weekday morning, and having even one day a week when you don’t have to worry about prep work at dinner time is great.  The whole idea is to use time when you have the time so that you can reap the rewards when you are busy or stressed.  It really works well for me.  I love opening my freezer to see neat little dishes staring back at me and waiting to be used one evening after a long day.

  Do you freezer cook?  What are your favorite freezer-friendly recipes?


Once a Month Mom and Heavenly Homemakers teamed up this week with a freezer cooking challenge.  Head that way to see what everyone else was cooking this week!
Also linked to I’m Lovin’ It at Tidy Mom.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you.  Hoping you get lots of luck today.  I baked some Irish Soda Bread last night, and it made a perfect holiday breakfast this morning.


I used this recipe, but I added 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds with the raisins for something more authentic.  Have I mentioned how much I love my cast iron skillet?

Don’t forget tomorrow at noon is the deadline for the adorable and bookish Etsy giveaway!

good week

It’s been a good week around here, and it feels good to get back to normal after last week.  It seems like every single week day brings some kind of milestone lately. This week was no exception with someone’s 15 month check-up.

365.227  15 month check up!

He was mobile as ever and all over the pediatrician’s office, but he also got super shy and buried his little face in my chest when she came in.  It’s this new behavior he does a lot lately, and it really makes him seem older.  How does he know to be shy around strangers?  It’s evidence that the baby is drifting away and the toddler is here for sure. He’s almost 25 pounds and just over 32 inches which puts his weight right in the middle and his height at the 90th percentile.   Next month also marks one whole year since we’ve visited the pediatrician for anything other than a well-visit!  There hasn’t been an antibiotic in this house at all, and I know that is part luck, but he does love his green veggies and had mama’s milk for a long time, so I know that helps us, too.  God knows we’ve passed various bugs around the house and he’s played with some sick playmates and cousins without getting anything, and I really hope this health streak continues through the cold months.

Another milestone?  Guess who finished her first ever knitting project?

365.229  first finished knit EVER

Luckily some patterns out there are super fast and hide newbie mistakes. All in all, I actually enjoyed it. A history of knitting and me:  I taught myself from a book just as I was starting graduate school eight years ago.  It probably wasn’t the best time to start something that requires patience, and I began with a scarf which took soooooooo long, so I decided I hated knitting.  I wanted to give it another try though, so this year for Christmas, I have knitting classes as a gift.  (First and foremost, it’s nice to be out of the house and on my own and learning something new.)  As it turns out, I am liking it for other reasons, too.  Sewing is abandoned lately since I have to banish myself to another room for it, but I love that I can sit next to Scott and knit away while still hanging out with my boys.  Bonus:  I think I will actually wear this cowl.  I’m excited to try some other projects soon.

On the food front, I’ve tried some new things, too.  I got a really great cookbook recently that I love.  There’s a whole chapter on breakfast-for-dinner, and it suggested pairing garlicky swiss chard with eggs and grits.  And y’all it is the perfect dinner with the husband is away and I am on my own.
<untitled> 827This is sort of a crappy photo, but I couldn’t manage to try another one and wanted to dive in.  It’s becoming a favorite of mine, and of course I add a dollop of heavy cream and a pat of butter to the grits because, I confess, I like my food as sinful as possible.

Speaking of confessions, I sort of like hamburger helper, too.  I know it’s low-brow and out-of-fashion, but for real, I do.  It’s done in one skillet, it’s inexpensive, and sometimes it just hits the spot.  When we gave up all processed foods and packaged seasonings a year ago, I really started to want some quick comfort food back in my life, and I found a few beef and noodle skillet recipes online that were so-so, and I’ve adapted it over time.

<untitled> 829

Beef & Mushroom Noodles (“real food” Hamburger Helper)

1/2 pound ground beef (We use grass-fed ground sirloin, but you could use ground chuck or even ground turkey.)

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic (less if you are not as garlic-crazed as I am)

8 oz sliced mushrooms

3 tablespoons butter

3 cups of egg noodles

beef broth – I start with about 2 cups and add more as it needs it and the noodles are cooking.  You can add a little water as well.

Brown the ground beef until done add onions and garlic and cook until the onions are done as well.  Drain it, and set it aside.   Using the already dirty pan, (less dishes, yay!) melt butter and add flour to stir until you have a roux.  Now pour in the the beef broth and use a whisk to get rid of the lumps.  Put the beef mixture back in the pan, and add mushrooms and noodles.  Simmer until the noodles are done, and keep checking to see if you need to add more water / broth.  It usually takes about 15 minutes to finish this up.  Add salt and pepper as you want, and you’re done!

When it’s cold outside, it’s exactly what I want.  I know someone else who likes it, too.

So that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to.  A little crafting, a little cooking, and also a lot of reading.  (Why am I so late to get on the train for Philippa Gregory?)  I hope your week has been great, and you’re staying warm.

Random babbling. And a toddler recipe at the end if you actually read that far.

I’m warning you that there is no cohesion to this post at all.

Randomness #1: Christmas is ten days away, y’all. Countdown is on and we are busy busy around here.  Presents are purchased, but I’ve got A LOT of wrapping to do, and the cards remain un-mailed. For some weird reason, Jude is just as fascinated with the reflection of our tree as he is with our actual tree.  Weird kid, that one.

Randomness #2: I made red velvet cookies this weekend. They are very good.  I have 2 left in my fridge.  I will eat one tonight with a glass of chardonnay and NO APOLOGIES.  I got hungry while writing and already ate one.

Randomness #3: We are coloring here sometimes. We try to color everyday, and sometimes he really gets into it and feels all proud when I ohhh and ahhhh over his lines and shapes.  But mostly he just likes to carry the crayons around the house.  Not doing anything with them at all, just carrying them.

Or other times, he tries to eat them.  Purple and yellow are his favorite colors in case you wanted to know.

Randomness #4: Today he put the right pieces in the right place on his little farmyard puzzle, and I freaked out in classic over-reacting, stage mom style. JUDE!!  OH MY GOSH!!  YOU ARE THE SMARTEST BOY EVER!  YAY YAY YAY!  YAY! JUDE! I heard myself and am fully aware of how ridiculous it sounded, but I don’t care.  There are moments that feel pretty phenomenal, even if every other mom has that same moment.

Randomness #5: Why does my kid try to eat everything?  [He is fourteen months old today, and I swear he’s been doing this since month four.]

I mean everything.  (Yep, that’s a Christmas ornament.)  And then when I give him a little kid’s toothbrush to chew on, he looks puzzled and offers it back to me or carries it around the house but doesn’t dare put it past his lips?

Randomness #6: I’ve been wearing the same perfume for 10 years, and I want something new. Any suggestions?  I hate florals.

Randomness #7: I love how bath time is like a reset button for the day.  No matter how cranky or tired or cooped up and stir-crazy we feel, bath time is always pleasant.

It is a little weird that he likes to chew on a washcloth though.  I have to bring 2 cloths in the bathroom – one to wash with and one to give him to chew on while I’m cleaning him.

Randomness #8: We had a little playdate last Sunday afternoon, and I was overwhelmed with the cuteness.  Watching two kids interact can be so funny sometimes.

These two are less that three weeks apart in age, and we mamas already betrothed them long before they were born, but I need to work on little man’s chivalry.  Jude came on a little strong.

Randomness #10: That same mama sent me a great recipe a while ago that I have used and frozen again and again.  So when she told me that she’d been experimenting with different ingredients, I couldn’t help but try to mix it up a little.  The result was a parmesan-veggie-nugget-type-of-thing that Jude is loving.


  • vegetables (use anything, but I used yellow squash and zucchini with some leftover potatoes.)
  • about one cup of breadcrumbs (I used Italian.)
  • 2 eggs
  • about one cup of shredded cheese

It’s easy!

  • Grate one green zucchini and one yellow squash.  Place grated vegetable in a colander because it’s watery and needs to drain for about 30 minutes.  Squeeze out remaining water
  • Melt a little butter in a pan, saute the vegetable for a few minutes to flavor and soften it.  (At this point, I added a small serving of leftover mashed potatoes from dinner the night before, just to use them.  Totally optional, but a great way to use leftovers.)
  • Toss vegetables in a bowl with grated cheese, breadcrumbs, and 2 beaten eggs.
  • Stir and mix it all together until it’s combined.
  • Make small ball and squish it flat so it has more of a cookie shape.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

These freeze pretty well and are really versatile.  (Hence my loosey-goosey recipe.)  Use any vegetable you want. The main idea is that cheese, breadcrumbs, and egg will make anything stick.  I did mine somewhat large, by the way, so he could eat one as a snack or side to lunch or dinner.  You could do them a lot smaller though – like traditional chicken nuggets, for instance.

Thanks, Samira, for the original recipe and inspiration!

Randomness # whatever we are on, I’ve lost count:  It’s freezing in Atlanta and across much of the country, from what I see. A heavy fuzzy blanket, house slippers, and un-addressed Christmas cards are calling my name. Stay warm!