Monday, August 29, 2011


This morning it was so nice and cool I think I could smell Fall and Football!  Can you believe it is almost Fall?  Fall is my favorite time of the years for many reasons...

 Pumpkin Patches

Fall leaves, candles, and cooler weather

Oktoberfest at Rock City

Halloween activities with my little Trick or Treater such as Boo at the Zoo and Aqua-Scarium at the Aquarium.  Who could resist this cute little giraffe on Halloween last year...
It is ALMOST time for all of those fun things again!  Don't worry, I've already picked out Nicholas' Halloween costume and it will be cuter than last year!  :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meal Planning, Freezer Meals Week 2

EDIT: Yes, I've already changed my menu for the week due to how busy tomorrow looks for us! Ha!

This week I didn't have to make as much because I still have a chili mac that I made with this week in mind.  Michael is going to be working a lot of over time this week and moving his shop, so it is going to be a little crazy around here in the evenings.  I want to have as much made ahead of time as possible.  I just made a meal of cheesy chicken rolls and 8 twice baked potatoes.
Sunday - smoked Boston Butt made into BBQ, potato salad, baked beans
Monday - BBQ Stuffed Potatoes
Tuesday - Cheesy Chicken Rolls, Carrots, Peas
Wednesday - Chili Mac, Salad, Bread
Thursday - This is our Little Gym night, so we do not get home until almost 7:00. Nicholas will eat a sandwich, cheese, and yogurt and I'm going to heat up leftovers for us.
Friday - Pizza night!
Saturday - Shrimp Boil

Cheesy Chicken Rolls
3 thawed chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 can crescent rolls
Cook chicken until done (I usually just boil it for about 45 mins).  While chicken is cooking, mix the soup, cheese, and milk in a small pan over medium heat.  Cook until cheese is melted and well blended. Shread chicken and place inside of a crescent roll.  Roll up and place in a pan.  It will make 8-10 rolls depending on the size can you buy.
Cover the chicken rolls with the cheese mixture and cover well if freezing.  Cook on 375 for 30 mins or until cheese is bubbly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time To Get Organized

As I'm sure you've seen on other blogs, the big talk around Twitter the past month or so has been Erin Condren Life Planners.  I use the calendar on my Droid, but I need something I can look at if I am on the phone and something that to me, is a little easier to use.  That might sound dumb, but I am totally a pen and paper kind of girl.  I love making lists, planning, and I am totally a type A personality.  I couldn't pass up the Plum District offer, especially since I had some additional discounts I could apply towards my planner.  It came in the mail today and I am in love!  I am so excited to sit down after Nicholas goes to bed and start writing in all of the dates in his busy social life.  This kid is almost booked through Christmas!
Yes, I did buy a pack of my favorite pens (other than my one true love, Sharpie pens, I've been told they bled through).  I have written in almost every one of these already! Ha!

The other big thing has been to make a Home Organization Notebook.  Mine isn't as fancy as others I have seen, but it works great for us.
 I have a section on important information, emergency numbers, and health information.  In the next section I have check lists and daily planners for my weekends.  Obviously, I need to clean it out since this is an old checklist! Ha!
 My next section is recipes: favorite, ones I want to try, and grocery lists.
 I also have a section to keep up with Nicholas' shots, dr visits, and day care information.  I also have a section devoted to Christmas Lists and Budget information and Birthday party ideas!
The last section is our weekly budget worksheets.  My notebook is different from a lot that I have seen, but these are the main things I need to have to keep up with.  I don't need daily checklists so to speak since I'm at work and I have a pretty consistent routine, but I do need weekend checklists.  There are several other, better organizers out there, but this is just a glimpse at mine.

And because no post is ever complete without my favorite one year old...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meal Planning Monday...Freezer Meals

My good friend Meredith has been telling me how much easier being a working mom can be if you do freezer meals.  I had planned to a couple of times, but it just never happened, until Saturday.  I spent right around 90 minutes making my life much less stressful!  (I'm including the recipes at the end of the post and how I prepared them)

Monday - Chicken Pot Pie 
Tuesday - Chili Mac and Cheese, Salad, Bread
Wednesday - Caesar Parmesan Chicken over Bow Tie Pasta and Broccoli, Bread
Thursday - Meat Loaf, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Carrots
Friday - Frozen Pizza because Mama is going out on a Girl's Night Out to see The Help!

I try to always have a meat for protein, veggie, and a starch.  Nicholas always has either a fruit or yogurt and milk with his meal.  Michael and I have tea, coke, wine, or beer.  :-)

Chicken Pot Pie
2 deep dish pie crusts
1 10 oz can of chicken
1 can of mixed veggies
any additional veggies you want to include
1 can cream of chicken

Cook any raw veggies until they are tender.  Mix all ingredients and pour into one pie shell.  Place the 2nd crust on top.  Cook for 45-60 mins on 400 or until golden brown.  Allow to cool for 10-15 mins before cutting, it will be very hot.  
To freeze I prepared all the way until placing in the oven.  I covered with foil twice and labeled the foil.  I place in refrigerator the night before cooking to thaw a little bit.

Meatloaf from Brooke Deen - Paula's daughter in law! I saw it on an episode of Paula's Best Dishes when I was in the hospital with a kidney stone a couple of years ago and just HAD to try it.  It has become a favorite.  I got the recipe here
To freeze I placed it in a foil loaf pan and covered with foil twice.  I will place it in the refrigerator the night before to thaw.

Homemade Chili Mac a classic go to at my house growing up!
1 lb ground beef
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
1 can chili with beans
1 box mac and cheese
Boil macaroni noodles according to the box.  While noodles are cooking, brown hamburger meat and drain.  Mix tomato sauce and chili with meat.  Prepare mac and cheese exactly as directed on the box and mix with the meat mixture.  Cover with shredded cheddar cheese.  Cook for 30 min or until cheese is melted and bubbly on 350.

To freeze, I prepared in a foil bowl like those you get in Mexican to go from a Mexican restaurant.  I covered with the lid and covered with foil.  Will thaw in refrigerator night before cooking.

Caesar Parmesan Chicken
2 chicken breast (can be frozen)
1 cup Caesar Parmesan dressing from Kraft.
8 oz Bowtie Pasta
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove Crushed Garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Bunches of Broccoli

I placed 2 frozen chicken breast in a large ziplock bag and added the dressing.  Sealed and returned to freezer.  Night before cooking, I will thaw in the refrigerator.

Bake chicken on 350 for 45 mins or until done.  Boil pasta until tender, drain.  Steam broccoli until tender, mix into pasta.  In a saucepan mix olive oil, garlic, and salt & pepper.  Pour over pasta/broccoli, and sprinkle with cheese.  Serve chicken over pasta.

This little cutie watched me prepare the first half before taking a nap.  I love that I can do this while he watches and we can still interact.  It makes it so much more fun than going somewhere to prepare them!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Boring Weekend

We have had a fairly quiet, low key weekend, but a productive one!  Nicholas and I spent the day Friday buying groceries, doing laundry, and picking up the house.  That has to be the worst part of vacation...coming home to the chores!  Nicholas had a mini-meltdown until we brought his car inside Thursday night, so this is how he has spent 80% of his weekend...
Pretty sure he has put about 500 miles on his car this weekend!

Yesterday I went to the Sweet Weepeats consignment sale in Chattanooga.  It isn't my favorite, but it was still decent.  I found a few shirts and onesies for Fall, 2 pair of Gap jeans, and a fleece vest/pants/onesie set from Carter's (I LOVED these sets last Winter).   I got all of this for $26.50!
When I got home I threw myself into preparing 5 nights worth of freezer meals and 10 twice baked potatoes.  It only took me around 90 minutes to prepare and all I have to do now is come home and cook!  I am doing a post of nothing but freezer meals tomorrow, but here are a few of the things I made. 2 chili mac casseroles, 1 chicken pot pie, and 1 meatloaf:
While I was doing that my husband was gaining bonus points in the garage by listing his home gym on Craigslist (since he doesn't have time for it anymore :(   and  cleaning up the garage.  I am ready to park in there again since Fall is coming up!
Too bad he put this on his ad..."I'm selling my home gym to free up some space in my garage. For some crazy reason my wife wants to park in there."  Um, no, you haven't used it in 2 yrs and I'm tired of running over it in the garage! Haha!

Last night we went to our friend and neighbor Scott's birthday party.  We had fun and it was great getting together with everyone.  I know I say this a lot, but it is awesome having such amazing neighbors and friends right across the street!

Today we have been in the middle of toddler hell.  My sweet, easygoing Nicholas is teething and he is NOT happy about it!  We had planned to go to a splash park this afternoon, but someone wouldn't take an early nap and threw such epic temper tantrums, he is now taking a nap! I'm using this time to do some posts to publish during the week, plan the next week of freezer meals, and to work on our schedule for the next couple of months.  Things are looking BUSY from middle September until Christmas!  I'm glad we have a day to be lazy, not too many more of those for a while!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ledfords At The Beach

We had beach pictures made on our last night after dinner.  Needless to say, they were challenging with a wild 13 month old!

 He absolutely refused to do any with my parents, so we got a couple in the room with my dad...after he changed clothes, but oh well.
 This is a candid I took with my mom.  He is so funny.  He was laughing so hard.  Precious!
And why we only had a few to chose from...

I am ordering a 16x20 of the family one for our foyer when I find another groupon and I got a 8x10 of that one, plus the one of Nicholas and I for my office.  It is time to take the wedding picture to the hallway and add a family picture to the foyer.  :-) 

Last Day at the Beach :-(

The last day we were in Destin was my favorite.  It was just a good, fun, relaxing day.  Again, we spent the entire day at the pool and just let Nicholas run wild (which is actually his only speed!).  

 I love this one of my wild little water baby!  He just ran around and squealed all week! Ha!
 Nicholas with his Grandpa and Gigi.  My dad spent a lot of his time at the beach, but joined us most of the day Wedesday at the pool.
 Because someone, not mention any names, thinks it is hilarious to go underwater, Michael ran out and bough him some swimmies.  He loved his new water muscles, but didn't like that he couldn't go underwater. Ha!

 We also had a lazy river that Nicholas enjoyed.  He and I went through it several times with him sitting in my lap, but here he is with Daddy.
 He didn't fall asleep at the pool Wednesday, so we took him in around 11:30, changed and fed him and he took a 3 hr nap in his PNP while Mommy and Gigi went back to the pool!  Thanks Grandpa and Daddy for the break!  I spent my afternoon with The Help, Bud Light Lime, and the sun!  PERFECT!
 My mom enjoyed her quiet time on the Lazy River and with her book
 My dad wanted to take Nicholas to Joe's Crab Shack, so that is where we spent our last night.  Of course, Nicholas wore his crab shortall, but I didn't get any pictures because he wouldn't stand long enough in one spot! Ha!
 He ate fish sticks, french fries, and in, he almost cleaned his plate! Ha!
 He feeds himself, so I have no clue why Michael was feeding him, but it was so cute because N was laughing so hard.

 He played on the playground while Gigi and I paid.  All was well until he fell and got sand ALL OVER HIM.
We came home early Thursday morning and it was good to be back home.  Spencer seemed to miss us and I know we missed him.  Nicholas did great riding, but I think that is in part because we got him a DVD player for the car (even though I know it is not a good thing to do).  He watched Mickey's Clubhouse and Veggie Tails until I seriously don't think I can see it again! Ha!

We had a wonderful, relaxing vacation.  It was the first trip we have taken in three years and it was very much needed.  What a crazy three years it has been! :-)  We can't wait to go back again next year!  I think we are even going to book the same condo! (which BTW, there will be a review of on my review blog soon.  I have quite a few things to put on there.)  One last post coming tonight of our beach pictures then I will quit talking about our trip.  :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pool Boy

I'm sorry if you are getting bored with all of the details and play-by-play of our vacation, but since I don't have time to scrapbook, this is how I journal our life.  Tuesday morning we started our day around 9 at the pool/splash park.  Nicholas played so hard that I didn't get too many pictures because he wasn't still very long! Ha!
 He actually played so hard for about an hour and a half that he fell asleep sitting in my lap and I even moved him to a chair for another hour and a half nap!  He was so sleepy!
 I thought this was just too cute to not show.  
 After lunch, someone was ready to go since he had a nice long nap right before he ate.  He played hard again.  His confidence started to grow and he started running around under the water and even trying to go under water.  Obviously he scared me to death!

 After we came in and took naps, Michael and I got ready to go out on a date, just the two of us.
 I had heard about the Acme Oyster House in New Orleans from my boss for years and I was excited to hear they opened one in Destin! It was every bit as good as we heard it was!  We had 2 dozen chargrilled oysters and I had the grilled shrimp.  FABULOUS!  I can't wait to go back there again next year! 

I just realized I haven't said anything about something I was really worried Nicholas would sleep in his pack n play.  He did really well!  The first night he woke up a few times, so the 2nd night he slept with us (which was actually the 1st time that has ever happened), but on Tuesday night he did great!  He slept all night and seemed much more rested on Wednesday morning.  Come back tomorrow to see the last day of our trip...