Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to Prepare for Parenthood

I did not write this and I cannot find anyway to credit the author, but I almost pee my pants every time I read this (especially Lesson 5). Enjoy.

How To Prepare for Parenthood

Lesson 1: Go to the grocery store. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2: Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their: Methods of discipline. Lack of patience. Appallingly low tolerance levels. Allowing their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it, because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3: To discover how the nights will feel...Walk around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. At 10PM , put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM. Set the alarm for 3AM . As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45AM. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4AM . Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Lesson 4: Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flower bed. Then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5: Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this- all morning.

Lesson 6: Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.

Lesson 7: Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full- grown goat is excellent). If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8: Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw in the air. You are now ready to feed a nine-
month old baby.

Lesson 9: Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 10: Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 9 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Progresso Recipe Starters Creamy Roasted Garlic

Alright I had to try another can of Progresso Recipe Starters. Being a member of BzzAgent is pretty amazing and you may recall my previous post about Progresso Recipe Starters and the meal we made. Well, because it turned out so well, I decided to try a different can. I remember seeing a chicken breast that looked delicious so I used one of the $.75 off coupons on a different flavor. By the way, it was over $2.50 not on sale, so I'm not sure this is something we'll keep stocked in our pantry, unless the price goes down. I have seen some coupons in 2 Sunday papers so I have a feeling there is the potential for some good sales, but we'll see.

Anyway, I picked up the Creamy Roasted Garlic thinking this would be the flavor we needed. The recipe listed on the can was for Chicken Pot Pie and that wasn't what I was craving. I checked out the other recipes at Progresso, but nothing was sticking out. I got online and FBed the BzzAgent page for meal ideas, no response. So I was on my own. I searched my pantry and this is what I came up with:

I knew I wanted chicken and I wanted it topped with something so I created Cheesy Garlic Chicken. We served it with rice and corn on the cob. Here's my recipe:

4 chicken breasts
1 can Progresso Creamy Roasted Garlic Recipe Starters
Swiss Cheese
French Fried Onions
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

In a large skillet on Medium-High pan heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder (probably 1/4 tsp per chicken breast). Brown chicken on both sides about 5 minutes each side. Once it's all nice and brown, pour in the Recipe Starter, pouring over each chicken breast and the rest around the chicken. Pop a lid on the pan and let simmer on Medium-Low heat for about 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. 

Once it's cooked, top with slices of Swiss cheese and french fried onions. Put lid back on until cheese is melted. Serve with your favorite sides!

In the pan

Plated up

Family Review:
My husband didn't like the Swiss cheese on it, but I love the taste of melted Swiss. The onions added a nice crunch to the top. The sauce was flavorful but pretty runny. As you can see here:

My husband also didn't like that there wasn't much sauce on top of the chicken. I did have a lot left in the pan, so I could have poured more overtop the chicken. Neither of my kids really ate it, but they're picky eaters. My oldest scraped the toppings off the chicken and ate it. If I try this recipe again, next time I'll cut the chicken up, top the whole pan with shredded cheese and onions and serve it over rice or noodles. I don't think I'll purchase this particular flavor again. The garlic smell was good, but I felt like I was limited in recipe options. I think the meal I just made could be made with any other Recipe Starter so it's a pretty versatile recipe. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I recently discovered an amazing blog called Unf**k Your Habitat. Essentially, it's a site that helps you become habitual with cleaning your house. She recommends 20/10s which are 20 minutes of cleaning and a 10 minute break or 45/15s. Also says to make your bed every day (already do that) and set yourself up for the next morning. She also issues challenges to help you combat something that you might ignore like your closet floor or an "invisible corner". Here's mine:

This is the top shelf of Mercy's bookshelf. It's been a catch-all for their memory box stuff. School papers, growth charts, baby books, etc. I finally got some bins, labeled them and sorted!

Invisible corner unf**ed!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Glade Expressions Collection

Well I'm thankful that BzzAgent is getting me back to blogging. I was lucky to be accepted into the Glade Expressions BzzCampaign and got my BzzKit in the mail the other day. Inside was a bunch of coupons. One was for a free Oil Diffuser and the other for a free Fragrance Mist. Plus a ton of coupons for $$ off for me to share with friends! I hit up Smith's last night and picked up my goodies.

First of all, there was a guy at Smith's stocking the shelves in the air freshener aisle so he helped me find the two different items. The Oil Diffuser had 2 fragrances to choose from: Pineapple & Mangosteen (which he said was a citrus something or another - usually added to orange juice. Not sure how he knew). The other was Lavender & Juniper Berry. Grace was with me and after smelling both, we decided on the Pineapple & Mangosteen which from the sample smell was sweet & juicy smelling.

The Fragrance Mist had all 4 scents available, the other two being Cotton & Italian Mandarin and Fuji Apple & Cardamon Spice. I really like the "fresh" smelling things (think "clean laundry" and "new car") and since I didn't want to spray them in the store, I went with the Cotton & Italian Mandarin.

The Oil Diffuser at regular price was $8.49 and says it lasts a month. The Fragrance Spray at regular price was $4.29. Now we're Scentsy people, so I hardly have air fresheners in the house. We do have some aerosol sprays down near the cat's litter box, but usually we're rocking the Scentsy at home. I think the cost of both of these is high and unless I had coupons that made it pretty close to free, I probably wouldn't purchase either item.

BUT ... to my surprise a Catalina coupon printed out for both items at the checkstand! I got a $1 off and a $2 off my next shopping trip from Glade Expressions. Surprise! So if anyone wants a coupon ($4/1 Diffuser or $2/1 Mist) it's a pretty good deal right now. 

Here's what we got:

I opened the Oil Diffuser first and my first thought was that it was pretty flimsy. It has fake bamboo panels that have decorative designs cut out. They slip into a black base but if knocked over they can fall out pretty easily. The oil is in a sealed container and you snap the diffuser panel into the oil to activate. I did that and put it up in our bedroom to see how it would work.

When I woke up this morning, I could faintly smell the fragrance. Sweet, almost mouth-watering, it was subtle, but there. I like that it was subtle a lot because the scent wasn't overpowering. I decided to move it to our entryway since our litter box is downstairs and sometimes you can smell it when you walk in the house. We have two Chinese guardian lions from Mike's mom that are on a weird ledge in our entry and the diffuser looks great next to them. I can still smell the scent. I will be interested to see how long the scent lasts since it's in an larger area than our bedroom. But it looks great! Here's a pic:

Ok now onto the Fragrance Mist. So our poor Mercy has had some tummy troubles over the past year. She'll get a bout of diarrhea and it's BAD. I got up with the baby this morning at 5:00 (she had a blow-out) and went into Mercy's room for a new set of jammies when I smelled it. The diarrhea is back. Poor Mercy was sleeping with a soggy, overflowing diaper. So I woke her and changed her. I had to change her jammies and take her Lovey out of the crib cause she had been pooped on :( I put Mercy back down and went downstairs with the garbage bag (cause there was no way that could stay in there). Of course Mercy is now wide awake (bring on 2nd cup of coffee!) Mike went in to check on her and her room was still sooooo stinky. Turns out, she had leaked BAD onto her other jammies and I should have taken the hamper out too. Oops. But Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist to the rescue! I sprayed some around the room and the smell was gone! 

Later that day I went back up to remake the beds and her room still smells great! The Cotton & Italian Mandarin is crisp and refreshing smelling. 

And best of all, I have a happy Mercy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Progresso Recipe Starter

As a member of BzzAgent I get some awesome things to try! I recently got invited to the Progresso Recipe Starter campaign and was excited to try it out. Today was supposed to be a whole chicken made in our slow cooker but Smith's was out of whole chickens so we had to make a change up. I decided to use some frozen chicken breasts and try the recipe that came on the can of Fire Roasted Tomato which was for Chicken Parmesan. Here's the ingredients we needed, which thankfully we had on hand.

I was going to be the one to cook but Bethany was fussy (BTW we had baby #3 since I last posted) so Mike ended up cooking for us. I had made some homemade breadsticks that were headed into the oven so Mike got to work. It took him about 20-30 minutes to finish the meal and it was smelling great the entire time he was cooking. He did comment that the directions didn't call for him to season the chicken before breading it. We were a little worried about that, but the chicken turned out AMAZING!

This is how it turned out. The chicken was very tender and flavorful. The sauce was slightly sweet but not overwhelming. I did notice that there was some oil sitting on the top. I'm not sure if it separated from the sauce or was leftover from cooking the chicken. 

Mike and I loved it and would definitely make it again. Grace ate the chicken but didn't like the sauce on the noodles. She's more of a "butter noodle" girl anyway. Mercy didn't eat...of course. But she's going through a phase so we expect that. 

Overall, great product. I'm curious to see the cost of the items in the store. I do know it was on sale this last week at Smith's and since it was part of a $5 of 10 mega event, it will probably be on sale again this week. I did see some coupons for it in this Sunday's paper so maybe we'll have to check out some other flavors.