My secret weapon

Oh my darlin, oh my darlin!
Seriously, these babies really are my weight loss secret weapon. I’ve cut out all sodas (10 weeks strong in kicking the coke habit!), I’ve cut cookies and pasta, and most junk. I’m far from clean eating but I do track everything that goes in my mouth. If I want a snack, if I’m hungry, if I want to emotionally eat, if I just need to put something in my mouth, I grab one of these babies. Seriously. They’re only 35 calories. So basically, yeah, guilt free. I eat at the very least 3 of these a day. I can put away 5 easily in a day if I’m low on my calorie goal or I’m really fighting some craving. A 5 lb bag doesn’t last 3 days in this house. But they are SO good!
When I’m planning my day I make sure I leave plenty of room in my calories for these sweet babies!
My other great love for when I’m wanting something sweet is Animal Crackers. You can have 13 of those cute cookies for only 100 calories. It’s another daily must for me. I will literally give up something in my day to fit in my animal cracker habit!
I also really enjoy the slim fast baked crisps in BBQ. Potato chips were by far the hardest thing for me to move out of my life and these are a huge help. They’re yummy, they’re satisfying, and I love the texture. They’re kind of expensive (I buy the 100 calorie packs) so I don’t indulge in them much, but if I need the salt something awful, I grab a bag.

Slowly but surely I’m finding food that makes me not miss my old habits at all. These work great for me and my weight loss journey. What works for you to kick the cravings and help you stay full?

Outside Play


Today Oliver didn’t wake up until almost 11. It’s rare but it happens every once in a while. We went to the museum yesterday but he’s been cooped up inside quite a bit this week and we were both getting restless, so today after brunch, we went out into our front yard. It wasn’t terribly cold. My phone said 42 but it didn’t feel that chilly at all. I let him go barefoot to experience all the textures and kept a check on him to see if he was getting chilled, but he never did. Often times I worry what other mom’s think of me. I know I shouldn’t, but I’m sure they talk. I never did hats and we’ve never bundled up. He runs a little warm, but I’ve just never felt the need to constantly keep him covered. So when showing post like this, seeing my child sitting in the grass in January weather barefoot with no hat, I promise you, he was fine. 100% comfortable.

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When I sat him down I sat away from him and I just stayed quiet. I didn’t want to distract him and I wanted him to explore how he felt the need to. Every once in a while I would name something for him, such as ‘Stick’ or ‘Rock’ or “That stick is smooth, but this stick is bumpy.” I didn’t hand him anything or take anything from him. For a while he was content in sitting and playing with a pile of sticks. He would pick one up and feel the weight in his hands. He’d hold it by the end and poke with it. Either me or the ground. He’d swing it above his head, then he’d bring it back down on a rock. He picked them up in both hands, studying the texture of each. He stuck them in his mouth to feel how they felt on his lip and how they felt when he bit them. I feel like I need to interject here and let you know I’m not a mom that is constantly rushing to pull things out of his mouth. Rarely am I ever telling him ‘no no, don’t put that there’ unless it’s a true choking hazard. You wanna eat that stick? Go ahead. Get some fiber. That rock? Lick it. It won’t kill you. Sure, chew on that leaf. Eat some dirt. Why not? Hands can be washed. Faces can be wiped. If it’s not going to hurt them, let them explore. No one would call me a helicopter parent, that’s for sure. lol #worldsokayestmom

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Once he got past the sticks he found larger rocks to stack and play with. He felt their smooth texture and like to put them in piles and drop them behind him. After a bit, Oliver decided to crawl around an explore more of his space. The past couple of weeks I’ve really tried encouraging him to put his toys back in their baskets once we’re done playing in his room for the day. Not only is this a life skill I want to instill later, but it has also encouraged him to begin putting objects into baskets and bins and such. Something he wasn’t doing before at all. So today when he crawled over to were we have some rocks and wood chips and began to put the wood chips and dirt into an empty planter, I was thrilled. This is the beginning stages of sorting and categorizing! It’s so exciting to watch him do it on his own. Again, I stayed back and stayed quiet. He dug up the dirt. He threw the rocks. He pulled up and stood barefoot on the wood and realized it wasn’t comfortable, then problem solved his way back down. It was wonderful. Several time I thought we should go in, but he wasn’t slowing down, so I let him play.. When be began crawling into my lap and getting clingy and fussy, I knew it was time to head in for a nap. We stayed outside nearly 2 hours and he was completely self entertained the whole time, and the whole experience was completely free and needed no guidance or extra supplies. I brought in a few of the larger rocks he was playing with so tomorrow we can wash them off in the sink and he can explore them wet and clean. I’ll keep these in a basket for a few days in his room to play with and see what he does with them.

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Over all today was a wonderful experience for the both of us. My son got to explore his world anyway he wanted to, and I as his mother got to watch his concentration, his problem solving skills, his curiosity. We need to get outside more and today inspired me to do just that. To kick off our shoes and just be in nature.


Easy Cheesy Chicken Casserole {Freezer Cooking}

I’ll get actual photos up of this later, but I had to get this recipe up and I didn’t think to photograph it as I was making it.


I haven’t made a freezer meal in months. I actually haven’t made anything in a couple of months. Summer got the best of us and we were always out and usually that involved picking up food or sitting down at a restaurant. Welp, school is back in session and our wallets are stretched thin so back to the kitchen I go!
I was scrolling through facebook the other day and on my newsfeed I came across a recipe for Swiss Chicken. We are huge chicken eaters so I skimmed the recipe, picked out the important parts, and made a mental note to pick up what I needed to make it. I wanted to make enough to have a couple of freezer meals as well. By the time I finally got around to picking things up I couldn’t remember the exact base recipe so I just winged it. We ate it tonight and It. Was. Amazing. Seriously. So good. I wish I’d made bigger portions.

What you’ll need

6-8 frozen chicken breasts
1 large can of cream of chicken (or mushroom if you prefer)
Sour Cream
Sliced swiss cheese (mozerella or colby jack would work just as well, or pepper jack to add some spice)
ranch packet, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil
(Not for Freezer) Crushed Ritz Crackers for the top and half of a stick of butter. (I used the garlic butter ritz and they were great!)

I made this for each of us to have 1 chicken breast per freezer meal, but I wish I’d doubled the amount of chicken. In my rectangular freezer pans I put in 2 chicken breasts and over the top laid a piece of cheese on each. In a separate bowl I mixed my soup with the sour cream and added my ranch, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

To prepare for the freezer-
in your freezer pan put down your chicken breast, cover with cheese, then spread your soup mixture over it. Pop in your freezer. When you are ready to eat thaw first then add your crushed ritz crackers to cover the top. Pour your melted butter over the the crackers and bake at 375 for 45 mins.

To prepare for the table
In a glass casserole dish lay down your chicken breasts and lay a piece of cheese over each. Cover with your soup mixture then cover the top with the crushed crackers. Pour your melted butter over the top. Cook on 375 for 45 mins.

I love this over rice but it can also be served on it’s own with sides. The sauce is thin so be prepared for it. The sauce is delish though so I practically poured it over my whole plate! Amazing!

Crockpot Shredded Chicken

The easiest way I’ve found to make the chicken for my freezer food bases is to cook it in bulk in the crock pot. It is easy and when I slow cook it for hours it makes the most tender shredded chicken you can imagine. You don’t even have to use a fork, it falls apart in your hands. It also makes a great broth to use in other recipes or to freeze for later!
I buy my chicken breasts in bulk, but I’m toying with the idea of using thighs instead since they’re cheaper and I’m using them in recipes rather than by themselves. I buy them frozen but whatever chicken you have is fine. I use boneless always. I hate pulling stuff off the bone. Again, personal preference.

I fill my crock pot nearly to the top with frozen chicken. Breast, thighs, tenders, whatever suits your fancy. I then fill it to the top with water and add one can of chicken broth just for extra flavor. I add salt, pepper, and garlic and cook on high for about 5 hrs or so. What you get is the most tender shreddable chicken and it’s delicious. You can freeze it just like this or do what I do and use it in your base recipes.
I pull the amount of chicken I need for the recipe I’m working on, shred it into a bowl, add the other ingredients, stir then bag and freeze. Easy peasy!

Pieces of you


It’s the little bits and pieces of you that I love the most. Your tiny button nose. Your blue eyes that look like lights they’re so bright. Your sweet little lips that poke out when you’re upset or break into the best smile I’ve ever seen.

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I love your hair and lack there of. Your ears that are tall on the top; that have my ear dimple at the bottom.


Your little fingers that have the strongest grip and your nails that are always dirty underneath though I can’t figure out how. I love the dimples above your lips when you smile. Your weird little toes that I always have to count because it looks like you have extra.


I love your skinny bird legs and your tiny belly. I love every little inch of you because they make up all of who you are. You are the brightest, smiley, sweetest, pleasant, content boy I’ve ever met. You are so full of joy and you are dramatic to a fault. You are always happy, until you aren’t, in which you scream until you are satisfied.


Every piece of you is every piece of my heart. I can’t explain the love I have for you. I don’t understand it myself. I don’t know where 3 months have gone so fast, but at the same time I feel like you’ve been in my world forever. You are so a piece of me that life is only natural when you are right beside me. If you aren’t in my arms I feel like a part of me is missing. You are my world. Thank you for every piece of you. Thank you for all that you are. ❤



3 months with Oliver

Sweet Oliver,
Congratulations! You’ve made it 3 months!


I feel like I keep waiting for the “hard part” to start. There have been some tough days, but those always come at the times when I keep you out too long or you just get overstimulated. But you are just an easy baby. An easygoing baby. A very happy smiley boy. You are so happy, until you aren’t. You smile, you flirt, then when you get mad you scream like a banshee.
You aren’t a fan of being alone, and God forbid you wake up by yourself. You are going to give me tantrums in a few years, I just know it.
This month you have really come into your own. You are bright and so happy and so incredibly expressive. You are so strong. You hold your head up like a pro looking around at the TV or our voices. Oh the TV. You will watch ANYTHING on TV. You love it. You’re quite a fan of musicals, which of course I love. You’ve also found Dr. McStuffins. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Disney fan, huge. I was just hoping we had a while before you were pacified by a cartoon. I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to use your love of screen time to our advantage.

You smile whenever you look at me now. Almost on command. I smile you smile. You’ve learned this week to switch from your happy smile to your pouty face and back. It’s amazing. So funny.

You’ve also fallen in love with your hands all over again. You clasp them together, you suck on them, you try your best to hold your bottle. You use them to hold your blanket and rub it all over your face. You love soft blankets. Unfortunately some times those mean old hands take that blanket and get it stuck right over your face and you hate it!
You love looking at peoples faces and you want them to look right at you when they’re talking. You’re amazingly social and you love to talk back. You aren’t good at hiding your emotions. If you like someone you smile great big. If you don’t you give a big old pout. You really love women. I mean you LOVE women. You love to watch Say Yes to the Dress because it’s just a whole bunch of women on the screen. All your favorite things. Men… well, you warm up after a bit.
You go to sleep around 10 every night. You’re usually up around 3 to eat, it’s an easy feed. Bottle but you never even open your eyes. You also get up around 5:30 when Daddy does for work. Another bottle but you aren’t quite ready to go back down right away. We stay up and talk for a bit and when we finally drift off you’re up by 9 or 10. A couple of times this week you slept til 11. That made for an interesting day. As great as you are a sleeper at night, you are a total non napper during the day. Even when you need one. You fight sleep like it’s your job. If you do finally fall asleep it’s just for a power nap and you’re up within 20 mins. I better not even think about getting anything done either because you’re sure to wake up mad if I’m ever very far away. When you’re awake you are ready to be entertained. It’s like you want to take in everything you can. You love to go outside and in the car. You want to see everything. You want to drink in the world.


We are very go go go. You don’t mind it one bit. You get bored very easily, just like me, so getting out of the house is pretty much your favorite thing. You know when we leave we’ll see new people who will talk to you. Usually when we go somewhere during the day we go with your Aunt Heather and Sadie. Man oh man does Sadie love you. She always wants to hold you and rub on you. If someone gets to close to you she’s sure to take notice. You two are best friends.

I feel like you were almost created exactly for me, to give me what I was missing, to make my life easier and happier–much easier and happier than I expected. The more I learn about you, the more astonished I am at how perfectly your nature fits in with mine, like puzzle pieces. I feel intuitively tuned into your needs and it’s as if you, in turn, are aware of what I need from you. I am so grateful and amazed and blessed that you are not a source of stress for me, but happiness and calm.


You are calm and observant and social. You give me those morning smiles and they melt my heart, and you happily look out the window or doze during car rides around town, and you sit alert at lunch or when we’re out with people looking around the room, smiling at all of your new friends. You eat when I feed you. You sleep when I rock with you. You babble at me when I talk to you. Thank you for being what I need, and thank you for teaching me to slow down a little bit. I love learning about you every day.

You’re the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

One Month with Oliver

Hooray for Oliver! You are one month old! I can’t believe that it’s already been a month and only been a month all at the same time. Time is going by too fast although it feels like I’ve known you forever.

You seem to like being very “free.” You love being naked. This is probably because of the constant skin to skin you’ve gotten used to during the day when it’s just us. You’ve never cried during a bath once you’ve gotten used to the water. You love to reach out and grab anything you can. Especially your sleeves when I’m trying to dress you. You’re still a little peanut but you’ve got big giant feet like your Daddy.

So speaking of Daddy, you really are a great mix of the two of us. So far it seem you have my lips and nose and your Dad’s hair and eyes. You’re a morning person and you are quite bright eyed and bushy tailed during the day. You are quiet and agreeable, and even a little serious. You have my temper and my dramatic nature. Sorry about that. You are so great, until you aren’t, then you want everyone to know about it. This mostly happens from 10 pm- 1 am. Yep. You’re a screamer at night.

You’ve gained pounds and  inches. You’re much smaller than we expected you to be and you still aren’t fitting into your 0-3 month wardrobe I so tirelessly picked out for you. It wasn’t cheap and I’m beginning to worry once you get in it it’ll be out of season. Hopefully you’ll catch up soon. You love looking at lights, and studying faces. You listen to our voices and you love to ‘pet’ me while I’m feeding you. That’s when you’re at your most cuddly. Otherwise you want to see the world. When you are awake and alert, it’s so fun to just hold you and watch you take everything in, straining with all of your will to hold your head up and turn your body all around. You are definitely a grabber and recently started pulling my hair while I feed you. At night you like to, no, you NEED to be swaddled. You have a soft swaddle wrap that is blue minky. It’s your favorite. But when you are frustrated (which again, you often get at night) you try your best to bust out of it. We’ve found that if we put you in your swaddle wrap then swaddle you with a blanket so you’re nice and tight you can relax and sleep the best. When you can’t sleep we pull out all the stops. We turn on the rainy mood app and Daddy puts on the Rockabye Baby Lullabies. You love music. You love the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, the Christina Perri Pandora station, Philip Phillips, Queen, The Beatles, and Billy Joel. I’ve recently started playing DIsney music for you in the car. You seem to enjoy everything except for Beauty and the Beast. I dunno, maybe it has too much going on,  because it’s the only one you fuss with.

You love to nurse. I know this because it’s pretty much constant. At least every hour unless you’re getting a good nap in. You also love to go go go, much like me. You don’t like getting in your car seat but once you’re in you’re golden. You love to sleep in the car and you love being toted through stores. I think you sleep better at restaurants than anywhere else. All about some white noise. You aren’t a fan of silence. You also love to be held. You aren’t much for being put down. At 3 weeks you learned to poke out your bottom lip and realized it gets you a reaction from me of kisses and snuggles. You use this to your advantage often. You love your Pappy (your pacifier) and even though I’m not supposed to give it to you while we’re trying to get you gaining weight, sometimes I down right can’t help it. You’re also a pooper. Man do you poop. Sometimes like twice a feeding. Thankfully some of those poops are turning to toots (LOUD TOOTS) and so the changes are becoming much more regular and not quite as frequent. Still super often though. You seem to hate a clean diaper. It never fails as soon as we change you, you poop again right away. I keep telling you, you’re going to have to get a job to start paying for these pampers until you’re big enough for your cloth. We’ve been able to, in the last week, move you from our bed to your rock and play sleeper but every morning after your first feeding I put you on my pillow next to me and that’s how the 2 of us rest after Daddy goes to work. You fight sleep too. You fight sleep like it’s your job. I think it’s just because you don’t want to miss anything. You’re a busy body who wants to see the world. I can’t imagine who you got that from. 😉 You are hard work, kid, but you are so worth it. Screaming nights are nothing compared to your sweet face when you are sleeping or to how amazing you are when you are alert and looking around. I want to teach you everything and you seem so eager to take it all in.

Thank you for teaching your Dad and me about this completely new kind of love and concern and affection and pride and happiness. For showing us how strong we are. And thank you for showing us that it was possible to love each other more than we already did. What a sweet little family you made us.