Apr 30, 2009

Sausage Bread [AKA Sausage Balls (not the kind you think it is)]

Another absolute favorite. This does not make those little round things concocted out of sausage and bread and such and served as finger foods at parties. No sir. This makes little pieces of toast, topped with sausage and melted cheese. Pure heaven any time of day. Delicious later in the day after they've become room temperature. Just as good tomorrow after reheating.

I grew up eating this for breakfast at my Granny's. She always served it, and we always ate it, with a big bowl of Argo brand canned peaches. We dunk our sausage balls in the peach juice before we eat them. My brother-in-law loves these, but he thinks I'm crazy for eating them with peaches. I think he's crazy for not trying it with peaches. Sadly, it is very difficult to find Argo peaches today. I know of one or two grocery stores in my town that carry them, when you can find them. Other brands of canned peach slices just don't taste right with this. They're OK, just not right.

Sausage Bread (AKA Sausage Balls)

1 lb breakfast sausage
1/2 to 1 loaf Velveeta cheese
1/2 loaf sliced white bread

1. Crumble sausage into skillet and brown over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain excess grease from the pan. (Grease interferes with the melting of the Velveeta.)

2. While sausage is cooking, cut cheese into small pieces, to aid in melting.

3. Add cheese to browned sausage in skillet and heat until cheese is melted, stirring to mix.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F.

5. Cut bread slices into quarters. Pile sausage and cheese onto each piece.

6. Place bread on rimmed baking sheets. Bake 3 to 7 minutes, until bread is toasted.

7. Serve with a can of peaches in light syrup on the side. Of course, the syrup is for dipping, and the peaches are for eating with the sausage balls.

The only hints I can think of for this recipe are to make sure you don't burn the sausage or cheese, and don't toast the bread too much. I've never, ever made these and frozen them. They do, however, make excellent leftovers.

Hobo Dinner

A family favorite from my childhood. Much cherished by my family. Another of those meals that my guys just PURPLE PUFFY HEART LOVE. Well, maybe not purple puffy heart, since they are guys. But ya know where I'm going with this.

Have Celiac or follow a gluten-free diet for some other reason? Go to Gluten-Free Southern Cooking to see how my mom converted this recipe to GF. She has Celiac, and this was one of the first recipes she converted to GF so she could still eat it. That's how loved this recipe is.

I have no idea how well this freezes, since I've never tried. Also, as always, with my crew, I have to make a double recipe just for dinner. A double recipe of this usually leaves us with one or two servings for someone for lunch the next day, if we're lucky. However, feeding my guys (sometimes up to 4 of them, plus me) usually equals cooking for 12 people or more. And then some nights we're lucky if there's leftovers for someone to eat for lunch the next day.

I do know that this recipe makes excellent next-day leftovers. We never throw these leftovers out. They don't stay around long enough. Also, I've tried this using Lil' Smokies sausages instead of the smoked sausages. My guys hated it. I got told to never, ever cook this using Lil Smokies again. (Did I mention they normally love Lil Smokies?) Also, this does not do well in the crock pot. I've tried, more than once. It left lots and lots to be desired. I always cook this fresh.

Hobo Dinner
Should serve, like, 6-8 normal people

1 pound smoked dinner sausage (then kind that's like kielbasa)
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-3" chunks
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3" pieces (or 1 small bag baby carrots)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 a soup can of water
1 small onion, sliced and rings separated

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place potatoes and carrots in a 9x13 baking dish.

3. Slice sausage into 1/2" thick pieces and spread evenly over vegetables.

4. Spread onion evenly over sausage pieces.

5. Mix soups and half a soup can of water in a bowl. Pour evenly over onions.

6. Cover tightly with foil.

7. Place in oven and bake for approximately one hour, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

My helpful hint for this recipe is to place a cookie sheet under the baking dish. This usually ends up getting in the bottom of my oven and burning there. Save yourself the trouble. Use a baking sheet or cookie sheet. Even if you have one of those oven liner thingys in the bottom of your oven like I do. It'll come right off the liner thingy, but it stinks when it drips down there and burns.

Tater Tot Casserole

This is a family favorite! Basically, all it is, is chili-cheese tater tots! Who doesn't love that?!?! Whenever I'm asked by my guys "What's for dinner?" and I answer "Tater Tot Casserole", there's nearly a stampede right then and there. This also freezes well. Details on that under the helpful tips section of this post.

Tater Tot Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 (2 pound) bag tater tots
2 (10 oz.) cans hot dog chili sauce
2 cups shredded cheese (any)

1. Pour tater tots into a 9x13 rectangular Pyrex dish or other such baking dish. Cook per package directions until tater tots are crispy and cooked completely.

2. While tots are baking, cook meat. Set aside. (I like to boil my meat in a big pot of water and then drain the water out. Less fat, cooks quicker, doesn't burn and get all crunchy like browning meat on the stovetop in a frying pan can. See the tutorial on the tutorial on Southern Plate that Christy Jordan wrote for more information on this.)

3. Mix chili sauce into the cooked, drained meat. Heat through.

4. Pour chili sauce over crispy tater tots. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at whatever temperature your oven is already set on for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Some helpful tips for cooking this dish:
1. If freezing, assemble without cooking the tater tots or heating the chili sauce. Let the ground beef cool before assembling, but go ahead and mix the meat in the chili sauce before pouring over the tots. If you do heat the chili sauce, let it cool before you pour it over the tots. Trust me, if you cook the tots before assembly, or pour hot chili over the tots before freezing, you will have yucky, soggy tots. Not cool! After assembly, wrap well and label. Don't forget to label with cooking directions, too! This way, if you need your husband or teenager to start dinner, you can thaw this in the fridge the night before, then call when you need it popped in the oven and just tell them to follow the instructions on the label you made!

2. If you freeze this, it can be cooked two ways. The first is to thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake at 350°F about 20 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted. The other is to unwrap and throw it in the oven frozen. Then you would bake it at 350°F until heated through. I would guess 30-45 minutes, but I've never done it this way, so I'm not sure.

3. If you're worried about your cheese burning due to the increased cooking time after freezing and thawing, but don't want to cover it with foil while baking (so the cheese won't stick to foil, of course), then try this. Assemble the casserole, everything but the shredded cheese. When you bake this, bake for all but about 5 or 10 minutes of the time called for. Take it out, add the cheese, then bake another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

4. Short on time? No need to cook the tots if you need to throw this together really fast. It will just make for soggier tots if you don't cook them until they're crispy first. Plus, it takes about as long to cook the ground beef as it does the tots, unless you have ground beef already cooked in your freezer, like I do.

Have any more suggestions? Share them in the comments.

Mini Meatloaves

I love meatloaf. Love it! Also, I love cooking meatloaf this way. I hate greasy meatloaf, swimming in all that fat from the ground beef. I also hate meatloaf covered with a nice burnt layer of what was tomato sauce or ketchup. So, this is how I cook my meatloaf. This also freezes well. I'll include that in the instructions, too, in case someone out there is interested.

Mini Meatloaves

2 lbs. ground beef (chuck, etc.- whatever kind you prefer)
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup bread crumbs, crushed saltine or Ritz-style crackers, etc. (again, whatever you have - this is great for using up old, stale bread or crackers)
1 package meatloaf seasoning (I usually use McCormick, just because that is what's available in my stores near here. I probably should look into making my own, though.)
1 (14oz) can italian diced tomatoes
1 (small? 6oz?) can tomato sauce

For most of these ingredients, I just use whatever I have or can find on sale. All the grease that cooks out of this will drain away, so I'm not concerned about buying low-fat (80/20 or 93/7 or some such) beef. Also,I try to stretch our grocery budget just a little, so I usually buy the store brands of canned goods when I can. As stated above, about the only thing I don't buy store brand is maybe the seasoning, because I don't think I've seen store-brand seasoning. I could probably make my own cheaper, especially if I also made my own taco seasoning, etc. I may look into that. But for now, store bought it is.

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Get out your broiler pan and the rack that goes with it. I love using my broiler pan for cooking meatloaf. All the slits in the pan let all the nasty grease drain into the bottom of the pan, keeping my meatloaf high and dry, you might say. If you don't own one of these, you can use any pan with sides deep enough to hold the grease. However, I really do suggest you go out and get one if you don't have it. You'll thank me for it later.

2. Spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray. This helps the meatloaf not stick to the broiler pan, or what ever pan you're using.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and tomato sauce together. Add seasoning and bread crumbs (or which ever you're using). THEN add the meat, mixing well with your hands.

4. While your hands are still covered in the meatloaf mixture, grab the meat by the handfull and shape into a ball/loaf shape. Place on the broiler rack (or other pan). Continue until you've used up all the meat.

5. Place your pan of meatloaf in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until meat is cooked all the way through. If you like, you can spread tomato sauce or ketchup or whatever your family prefers over the loaves, before or during cooking. I don't like it, so I omit this part.

Some helpful tips for making mini meatloafs:
1. A muffin pan can be used, also. Just spray the pan before you fill it. Press enough of the meat mixture into each cup to fill it over. Place muffin pan on a pan deep enough to catch any grease that runs out of the muffin pan.

2. For freezing, either use a muffin pan, or line baking sheets with wax/parchment paper (whichever you have). When using muffin pans, spray each cup before filling. Fill and freeze until the meat is frozen solid. Transfer to zippered freezer bags and freeze. When using baking sheet, spray the wax paper with cooking spray. Shape each loaf by hand and place on the paper, not touching. Freeze until frozen solid. Transfer to freezer bags and freeze.

3.) This recipe doubles and triples easily. Monday I cooked 5.3 pounds of hamburger meat into meatloaf. (Yes, all of it was for eating that night and leftovers the next day). I used: 5.3 pounds meat, 1 (14 oz) can Italian diced tomatoes, 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce, whatever stale saltine/Ritz/oyster crackers I had in the cabinet (pulsed them in the blender to crumble them up quickly), 5 eggs, two packs of seasoning, and enough milk to hold it all together (1/2 to 3/4 cup? I don't know, I just poured some in the bowl). I mixed it up following the directions above. It made 19 mini-meatloaves (each was a gull handful of meat), which filled up my broiler pan completely. I had to cram them on there, touching. It only took them about 75 minutes for them to all be cooked completely. I checked with my meat thermometer, and every one was 190°F or more inside. This fed 7 adults (some of which ate two or more loaves), gave me a plate (with 2 1/2 loaves) for lunch at work Tuesday, and left 5 in the fridge for the guys to eat Tuesday.

4. Alternatively, you could double or triple the amount you need when you make this. Cook what you need and freeze the rest. Dinner in a flash later, with only a minute or two of extra work now!

5. To cook after freezing, just place on the pan you want to cook them in (still frozen) and put them in the oven. It'll take longer to cook, but there's no defrosting needed. In fact, defrosting is really a waste, because then you'll probably have to reshape each one before baking.

6. If you want to make traditional meatloaf (one big loaf) this recipe works, too. I find it takes less time to bake if I make mini loaves for each of us, so that's what I do. By all means, use a loaf pan and make one big one if that's what you want. Or better yet (in my opinion), shape it into a loaf and place it on a broiler pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. All the grease still drains off, and it's still one big loaf.

7. When using a broiler pan, spray both sides of the rack with non-stick spray. Also spray the inside of the bottom pan. Trust me, easier cleanup later. The slots in the top pan will collect tiny pieces of meat and gristle and such as they cook out of the loaves, and then you'll have to scrub to get them off. Trust me. Spray the whole pan. You'll be glad you did.

8. Be careful when taking the broiler pan out of the oven when your meatloaf is done. Hold that pan even and level, and don't slosh it around. If you don't watch it, you'll pour hot meatloaf grease all over yourself. Not fun. I poured it all over the toe of my leater and suede work shoes the other day. I didn't burn myself, but I could have. Thank goodness I wear my shoes even inside.

Anyone have anything else to add? If you do, leave a comment!

Recipes for menu plan, April 27 - May 10

As promised, I am working on recipes for the menu I posted. I will post each of these separately, so I can link to them in future menu plans. So, expect a lot of posts from me today until???

(I have nothing better to do, as I'm stuck at work and trying to avoid doing too much today. Sounds lazy, but the ligaments in my stomach hurt yesterday and this morning from all the walking I did yesterday while I was here, so I'm trying to not push it today. I'm not hurting right now {knock on wood}, and I sure don't want to start. So I'll be taking up time on the computer this afternoon, hopefully.)

Updated at 5:30 CST
OK, I have posted a few of my recipes, and linked them to my original menu post. I'll finish the rest later. It's almost time to go home! I still am going to post:
Lemon Pepper Chicken
BBQ Chicken
Beef Stew

I would post my recipe for lasagna, cube steaks, pork chops, and garlic bread, but the lasagna was frozen Wal-mart brand, the pork chops will be shake-n-baked, the cube steaks will be fried as-is (with a little worcestershire and water for marinade) and covered in a white flour gravy made from a package, and the ComputerGenius made the garlic bread. One day, I will post these too. But I couldn't expect the guys to cook my lasagna from scratch, etc. I'm lucky they're cooking the things they are. I tried to go easy on them, one night of real cooking and then one of heating something. So far it's working out pretty well. Last night I had to make the cheese sauce for the broccoli. Poor ComputerGenius burned the batch he made (Velveeta and milk). He forgot to stir it for too long. :) He cooks like me!

32 week belly pics

I realized it's been a while since I have posted any pics anywhere of my ginormous (and still growing) belly. Here you have it. I am exactly 32 weeks today. I went at lunch time and took these in the bathroom mirror at work. It worked out well, considering I wore a navy blue shirt and black belly band, which makes me look more slender. ;)

32 Week belly 32 Week belly

After I took these two pics, I went outside to email them to myself and promptly sat in water on the bench I chose. Then I called my husband to harass say hi to him. Then, on my way back inside, some random guy remarked to his buddy walking with him that "Her water broke!" Men. {sigh} So smart. I know I look big, but I really hope my water doesn't break eight weeks before I'm due! And if they think I look big now, wait another month and see what they think!!! :)

Project Procrastinator's Party

I'm joining in on the Project Procrastinator's Party at The Inspired Room. Click on the link for more details, and to follow along with us.

My project will be my kitchen table. I hope two weeks is enough time for me to do this. But I really need to get it done, so here goes. **deep breaths**

I will take a pic tonight, and post it then. It's horrible, and I am ashamed to show you what it looks like. I'll be truthful, though. Except that technically, I have to start on my project before a pic is posted, because I believe my camera is on said table. Easy to get to, it's not buried under all the piles, but it's still there.

Also, in the interest of truthfulness (is that a word? My pregnant-brain can't remember right now....), I will dump all my work stuff on it before taking said picture. That's where I dump it every night anyway, mainly because the table is the right height for me to pack my bag in the mornings and pick it up without bending over, which would NOT go so well for me right now if I tried. That's my excuse, anyway. Really, I've dumped my stuff there every day for the last (over) two years, and I'm not stopping now. We don't eat there. My pic later will prove why we don't eat there. That and, frankly, my couch is more comfy after twelve and a half hours at work than any kitchen chair could ever hope to be.

So, I'll add my pic to this post later tonight via the magic of editing. Until then, imagine Mount Saint Helens piled on a table, ready to erupt at any moment (AKA, all my piles of stuff sliding off into the floor AGAIN).

Pig flu

Crap, people in Madison have THE FLU. Maybe it's swine flu. I know! Let's close schools and cancel athletics for several days! Their parents are still going to go to work. If THE FLU is being spread, their parents can give it to other parents at work, who will take it home to their kids, so it'll be in schools from Scottsboro to Florence soon! YAY! While there's fifty of use here all day, every day, passing plague and who knows what else around. I swear, if anyone gives me ANY kind of flu (or cold), I will seriously injure them!!!!

You've all been warned!!!

I wonder if Chris is still playing baseball today, or if that's cancelled, since the state cancelled ALL high school athletics for the next few days. Wonder if that applies to little kids, too?

Uh-oh, someone just coughed. I have to go find a can of Lysol now and spray everything within my reach. And rub myself from head to toe with Germ-X AND Purell.

Just kidding. For now.

Apr 29, 2009

Gah... Still behind the times.....

I just figured out that Google Reader gives you the option of creating folders to store blog feeds in.... DUH! I was wishing Blogger had that function, then I thought, "Why don't you hop on over to Google, and check out the Google Reader? I bet you can organize your blog feeds there." Guess what??? Of course you can. And I've been dealing with my Blogger Dashboard for how long, when I could have been using Reader???? Why didn't someone tell me this?!?!?

Edited at 12:24 to add:
So, I added all my blogs from blogger to Google Reader. I gave each one a tag so I could remember why I had followed these blogs (after I had to open some of them and scroll through trying to figure out why. But that's because I just weeded all my blogs out, and subscribed to a few new ones, which still left me with less blogs to follow than before!). I'm figuring out how to use the reader, and I have to say, I think I like it better than Blogger's reader. Google automatically tells me if there are any new updates since I last checked out all my feeds, so I know if I need to waste time trying toscroll through posts or not. I just scrolled through about the last week of feeds, and then marked all of them as read, so I can start off with "0 new". I figure if I haven't read them, I don't need to, right??

Apr 28, 2009

To-Do List update

It's been a while, so I think I need to update on my progress of wading through my massive to-do list.

I cleared everything out of my office closet except papers that need filing or scanning and trashing. I organized all my pens, pencils, markers, labels, etc. into bins. I put everything back in the cabinet neatly. I put items of a similar type (writing utensils, notepads, sticky notes.....) together in the cabinet.

I bought a few more pieces of maternity clothes. I could use a few more shirts, but I'm almost there, so trying to hold out on buying more.

I cleaned our ceiling fans. I also went through the house and dusted all the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. While I was in the bedroom dusting, I cleaned the TV and dusted the entertainment center there. (Bonus points for me!)

I pre-registered at the hospital. Now I'm ready to go, in 6 to 8 weeks..... :) (Still have to pack my bags, wash some of the stuff baby will need the first week, get all that stuff downstairs, and buy a couple of those plastic carts-on-wheels to hold his stuff for the first few weeks, when I don't feel like and can't physically go upstairs....)

I got my hair cut! And my eyebrows waxed! I think it's been 8 years or longer since my hair has been this short. The longest layer is down to barely past the top of my shoulders. Now I can go in for a trim when I take my maternity leave before the baby gets here, and I'll (hopefully) be good to go there for a couple of months (until about the time I get ready to go back to work, give or take).

Our glider came in, and has been assembled. Yay us! It only took about 15 minutes to put together. It was just about 12 screws or so. So easy!

I bought a breast pump. I couldn't decide, so for now I got one from Walmart, an Evenflo single electric pump. Then one of the girls I work with offered me hers. I just have to buy new valves and stuff for it. It's a Medela. So if my Evenflo gives out, like a lot of people said will happen, I have a back-up.

I bought new, bigger nursing bras. Walmart doesn't sell anything that I could find above a DD cup, so I had to settle for going up a band size for now. I really need a 38F. I had to deal with a 40DD. It still fits pretty well, for now. If they'd get a little bigger soon, it would fit perfectly. I don't want to have to keep buying bras that probably won't fit once my milk comes in. I have so many better things I could spend that money on every month or two. I now have around 6 or 8 bras that I've bought the last 8 months, that don't fit anymore, and 2 that I can wear comfortably. Pitiful, isn't it? I do have a girlfriend who is giving me 2 new bras, I think a 38F and one maybe larger than that??? I can't remember.... She never wore them, she didn't get big enough for them.

So that's where I stand with THE LIST right now. I can live with that. Nesting is starting to set in. I get home from work and look around at all the things I need to do, but am too tired for, and a slight panic starts to creep in. So I take a deep breath and try to convince myself to not care, and so far it works.

Apr 26, 2009

Grocery Shopping for April 27-May 10

This is not a full grocery list, as I've not been shopping yet. I still have to check my freezer and pantry for items we already have that I don't need more of. I also need to give my list a second glance, to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. This is simply a plan of where I will buy some of the items I will need.

Piggly Wiggly has several items on sale that I'll need. PW brand milk is $2.59 a gallon!!! I can't believe my good luck. A few weeks agon, it was that cheap, and after I got home and two gallons were gone in a week, I kicked myself for not buying more and freezing it. This week, if I have room in my freezers, I plan on buying two gallons for the fridge and one to freeze.

The Pig also has ground chuck for $1.79/lb; boneless pork loin (2 per pack) for $1.97/lb.; family pack of chicken leg quarters for $0.69/lb.; certain varieties of apples for $1.99/3-lb. bag; and red globe or black seedless graped $0.99/lb.

A full list of Piggly Wiggly sales items for the Athens area this week, along with other sales prices for other stores, can be found at Two Thrifty Sisters.

I'll update once I go shopping tomorrow.

Menu, April 27-May 10

Menu Plan Monday is hosted at I'm An Organizing Junkie. Go here for lots of recipes and menus, made by other bloggers and linked to her site.

Now that the initial MPM disclaimer is over..... :)

So, I've had problems with dinner lately. Mainly, I left the guys in charge. Since they're guys, dinner is never decided on or started until I get home. {Cue huge eye roll. Men.}

Since they can not decide anything (admittedly, this is probably mainly to avoid making me mad)I have laid out a plan for the next two weeks. It includes two meals a week prepared by me, and the rest are made by them. My list includes cooking directions, and instructions to put insert name of frozen meat, veggie, etc in the fridge to thaw for tomorrow night's dinner, total approximate time they should allow for dinner prep AND cooking, and such. Surely between the four of them they can manage, right?????

So, without further ado, my menu plan for the next two weeks.

Monday, April 27 (Trisha cooking)

Mini Meatloaves
Broccoli & Cheese
Mashed Potatoes
Shells & Cheese

Tuesday, April 28
Garlic bread

Wednesday, April 29
Baked Potato Bar
Broccoli & Cheese

Thursday, April 30
Tater Tot Casserole

Friday, May 1
Corn Dogs
French Fries

Saturday, May 2
Hobo Dinner

Sunday, May 3 (grill)
Cube steaks with gravy
Mashed potatoes
Shells and cheese
Whole kernel corn
BBQ bread

Monday, May 4 (Trisha to cook)
Lemon Pepper Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Shells & Cheese
Texas Toast

Tuesday, May 5
Shake N Bake pork chops
Chicken flavored rice
Mashed potatoes
Green beans

Wednesday, May 6
Sub sandwiches

Thursday, May 7
Sausage Bread

Friday, May 8
BBQ Chicken
Mashed potatoes
Shells & Cheese
Baked Beans

Saturday, May 9
Beef stew
Grilled Cheese

Sunday, May 10
Chili Dogs
French Fries

I am working on posting the recipes for these. I would just copy and paste my instructions I'm leaving the guys, but since some of the prep will be done ahead of time, and there aren't any measurements included in their instructions (other than one can of this, one zipper bag of that, etc.), it won't do anyone else any good.

And now for a pat on my back and a toot of my own horn.... Not only did I make a menu for the next two weeks. Not only did I make and print a grocery list, organized by store aisle, for this menu. I have begun planning the next menu after this one!!!

Apr 24, 2009

Ray's Surgery

Ray is going in for pre-op right about now. His actual surgery starts around 7:30. The doctors expect about 4-5 hours in surgery. They won't know how bad the damage is exactly until they go in. They aren't completely sure exactly how bad the heart attack was, or whether they caught it at the beginning or end. They said he might have been working up to a big one when he arrived at the hospital. Or he may have been having one big light heart attack for days. We don't know yet.

Prayers, please.

Apr 23, 2009

Update on BFF's dad

Barring any further complications or heart attacks, Ray is scheduled to have open heart surgery Friday. If something happens to him before then, they'll go in immediately. The heart attack he suffered seems to be a major one. It has damaged somewhat the front portion of his heart. The doctors in Huntsville told the family that if Athens hadn't stabilized him when they did, he wouldn't have made it to Huntsville.

Please continue with the thoughts and prayers. You can send your thoughts to her on Myspace. She's checking them, even if she can't update often.

Apr 22, 2009

Doing a Drive-By post-and-run.....

I'm at work, and have a job to do at 3:00, and have to go potty before then, so this will be quick.

I just got a call from Michael (at work, which he never does unless it's can't-wait-have-to-call-right-now emergency. Lori's dad had a heart attack sometime just a little while ago. Don't know exactly when, but they've sent him to Huntsville Hospital via MedFlight, so it doesn't sound really great to me. I haven't talked to her yet, so I don't know any real status.

Keep her in your thoughts. Let her know you're thinking about her. I'll call her in a bit, and check again tonight with her. Maybe we'll know more then.

Apr 16, 2009

Today is 30 weeks!!! T-minus 70 days and counting!

From BabyGaga, the crappiest of all pregnancy sites (but a good description of this week's activities, and i haven't gotten any better ones in my email yet):

Week 30: Goodbye monkey baby, hello roly poly!

Fetal development in pregnancy week 30:fetus in seventh month

The light is visible at the end of the tunnel! Your oversized self and amazing growing baby have finally reached the single digits (in terms of weeks till birth)! The fine lanugo hair that has been growing all over their little monkey-like body is going to start falling off this week in preparation for the big day. But don’t be shocked if they’re hairier than you’d anticipated, some babies keep their lanugo until after birth. Still, it’s not any cause to be concerned as it will fall off eventually. No surprises here: your little porker is getting even cuter with increasingly pudgy arms and legs this week thanks to the ever-growing layers of subcutaneous fat. In terms of numbers, your baby should be weighing in at around 3 pounds 12 ounces (or more!) and be nearly 16 inches long.

And how's mom doing? On a very serious note: you should make sure to determine both you and your baby’s blood type. It’s extremely important for everyone. In the case that you and your maturing babe’s blood types don’t match there’s a chance you could produce antibodies that could potentially attack and harm a future fetus. It is rare, but with modern medicine, the problem is easily corrected and little cause for concern if dealt with properly.

As for the ongoing joys of being in your third trimester: your not-so-fun symptoms are just intensifying this week, so it might not hurt to slow down a bit and focus on yourself. If you’re feeling extra fatigued, you’ve probably joined the sleeping shouldn’t be this tough when I’m this tired club, especially if you’re experiencing a lot of back pain and general discomfort. If you’ve been pushing the exercise thing, then this is the time perhaps to cut down on the physical activities and focus more on getting proper sleep (if this means buying a pregnancy pillow, then do it!). Oh and all that moodiness? Just go with the flow emotionally. This doesn't mean letting the hormones win and becoming a complete psychotic. Instead, feel the feelings, but know that the drama you’re feeling is largely a result of increased adrenaline thanks indirectly to hormonal swings—not because things really are that dramatic and merit adult temper tantrums. The clincher symptom for this week: it’s highly likely your libido has gone on sabbatical. This, as far as we’re concerned, is perfectly natural in your condition.

And now for my thoughts on the above info:

Glad to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As long as it's not a train. Also glad for single-digit week count until D-Day! WOOT!!!!!

Blood type not an extremely big issue here. I mean, of course I'm concerned over it and I truly hope it doesn't create any problems. But I'm a negative blood type, so my midwife automatically gives me Rhogam, at 28 weeks and right after delivery, to greatly reduce the risk of complications should the baby be born with a positive blood type. I also have no idea what my dear husband's blood type is, much less if it is positive or negative, so this could be a potential concern. I've already had my first shot, which cost me $43.00 to pick up at the pharmacy. I almost choked over the cost. That was WITH INSURANCE!!! But, I guess nothing could ever cost too much when it comes to baby's health, so I paid it, and will file it on my HCSA for reimbursement, anyway, so....

I do feel extra fatigued. When I get off work today, i will have worked 50 hours this week, so no wonder. my boss is threatening to cut me back to 4 10-hour shifts a week until my leave. I hope he waits a few more weeks, at least, so i can try to get in at least some of my overtime for the outage first. The extra money would be nice in savings. :)

Moody? ME???? Surely not. I'm never moody. I don't know what they're talking about.

Libido? What's that? I'm more interested in a full night's sleep at this point.

With all that said, I would like to point out that the pain I was having yesterday continued until I went to sleep last night, off and on. Doctor said not to worry, unless it gets worse or has signs of labor associated or something like that. Then I should call right away and/or go to the ER. The pain has been pretty much abscent today, except for a couple of times, but the baby was moving then and I think he caused it.

I'm hoping for a quiet weekend. Tomorrow I have pre-registration, haircut, grocery shopping, etc. to do in town. Hopefully the rest of the weekend we can relax and chill, just the two of us. Starting Tuesday, unless my boss gets his way, I'll be working 75 hours a week, at least for a few weeks. Mondays will be my only day off. Joy. I may work the extra hours a few weeks and then go to 40-hour weeks. Who knows? It all depends on how I feel each day.

Apr 15, 2009

To Do List and general update

Yay! More stuff done!!!! My shower is done. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who came , and for all the wonderful gifts! I am so grateful that so many people love our child and are so excited for us, that they would take time out to come to my shower. I never imagined we would get so many beautiful, nice gifts! Thank you cards are coming soon!!

Now, for my To Do list:

1.) Debbie (bless her) got bored at my house while Aaron was trying to fix Dave's computer one evening, and she scrubbed my microwave!!! Can you believe it? I could have kissed her!
2.) I filed all my 2008 HCSA receipts, and have gotten reimbursed for them. I managed to file enough receipts to use up everything in there from last year. I also went ahead and files some from this year, that I could find. Since I filed them, I have made a manila envelope to hold receipts until they're filed, so I can actually find them when I need them.
3.) Michael had Aaron clean the carpet upstairs. He had to clean his room, since it was his dog that peed and pooped in there, so he cleaned the little 4 foot by 5 foot landing at the top, too.

Really, in all actuality, I only personally completed ONE thing from my list, but I'm still counting it all. Hey, a pregnant gal takes credit for everything she can, right??? ;)

Also, I have discovered Google Documents. Totally awesome! I mean, I've known about it for some time, but never used it. Today, I have begun uploading documents to the site. Now I can access them from any computer with an internet connection. Good thing, since I have docs scattered across the desktops of most of the computers at work. I'm trying to gradually get them all loaded onto Google and sorted into folders and deleted from the hard drives. One small step towards being organized. I'm also doing the same for my email, since I'll frequently make a personal document and email it to myself so I have it at home and work. This will help clean out my inbox. :)

My glider came in that Michael's parents and sis/bil bought for us. We're going to put it in the living room for now. We'll be getting that put together this weekend, if he didn't do it today. Add that to the to-do's. Also, thank you cards for the gifts we've received, ordering my breast pump, grocery shopping, getting a haircut, pre-registering at the hospital, and buying larger bras (again). It never ends.

My breast pump will probably be the Lansinoh double electric pump from BRU. I have a 15% off coupon for any pump, and it looks to be the best-rated for the money that they sell. My coupon isn't good until April 17, so I have to wait until then to order.

Grocery shopping won't be that bad. I'll be working every day except Mondays, beginning next Tuesday (April 21) until I decide that I'm crazy for trying to work the outage while this pregnant, or until my doctor says otherwise, or until my bosses force me off shift due to my advanced prenatal state, or until my leave starts the first of June. Therefore, groceries will consist of stuff like pizza, fries, chili dogs, bagged salad mixes and fresh veggies to make side salads, stuff for me to eat at work, and such. Stuff the guys can cook without oversight by me. Because if I have to come home and oversee dinner prep, I'll eat cereal or a sandwich and go to bed.

Since groceries will probably come from Walmart, getting the bras and thank you cards won't be such a big deal. As long as I remember to buy them.

I'll get my hair cut and pre-register at the hospital Friday before shopping. I say Friday because there's rain in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Boo.... It figures it would rain during my last weekend off for a while.

Chris will be staying with us one night this weekend. His visit last weekend got cancelled because Pooh went into the hospital again, so we had to rush to Huntsville.

Monday will bring another doctor's appointment. Can you tell it's getting closer to delivery day? The every-other-week appointments have started. This one should be just a regular check-up.

In other news, Pooh and the twins are hanging in there. So far, so good. They've stayed put a few more days. Her OB believes all would be well if they were to come now, but would still prefer to keep them in as long as possible. The mag seems to have done the trick. At last check, she was back off the mag and on just IV fluids, and her appetite is back. She's been craving baked potatoes. :)

Lori's mom made it fine through her back surgery. They had to completely remove the damaged disk, and "screw" her spine back together. She is home and in some pain, but fine otherwise.

Chris had a baseball game Saturday, that we got to go to. His team lost, but they played really well. Most of their practices last month got rained out. They didn't get to practice as much as they had scheduled, but the kids still did realy well considering this is self-pitch instead of coach-pitch. One boy on the team has never played before this year. He did really well, too. Our pitcher started out throwing his pitched over the batter's head, but he quickly settled down to pitch a good game. He struck several players out. Chris has just enough team mates for the team to play a game (9 players are required). If even one boy misses a game and a sub can't be brought in from the other team at the school, then they have to forfeit the game. Saturday we had one sub player. Chris did well in the game, too. He has really improved over the level he played at two years ago. He didn't play last year, because he lived with his mom and didn't want to play there. It seems to have instilled more confidence in him, which is great. As long as it's confidence and not arrogance. He is quick to point out himself the areas he could improve in. He is also quick to acknowledge his teammates' improvements, good plays, etc. All in all, the boys had fun, and that's what we're all there for.

That's all I can think of for now. Not much, is it??? :) That's what I get for neglecting my blogging like I have the last week or two, I guess. Hopefully I will be able to update more regularly. I had gotten into the habit pretty good, but I let that slip with all we did this past week and weekend.

Passing the word on - FREE - Giveaway - Monogrammed Beach Towel

Edited to say: this giveaway is over. Sadly, I didn't win.

These are cute, and you can enter at Misadventures of a Newlywed.

Holy Braxton Hicks, Batman!!!

These Braxton Hicks are killing me! I know that's what it is, because it starts up while I'm doing my routine at work, and stops after I sit down and put my feet up. Also, I can feel my uterus tightnening when it happens. I remember having them last time, except not in the area of my abdomen where they are now, and certainly not this sharp and stabbing-like..... Holy crap!

Either that, or I have a bladder infection or something similar.

Not to worry, a call will be placed with my doctor's office, as soon as they came back from lunch, around 12:30 or so. I would have called earlier, but I didn't think about the bladder possibility, until after they had already transferred their phones to the answering service, so now I can't get through to someone who actually knows something about pregnancy (although bless those answering service operators, they're always so nice when I don't stop to realize that it's lunch time).

The pains have stopped for now, and I will call Roberta's office again after lunch. An update will be posted after that. Also, I will be taking it easy and drinking plenty of water until then. Hopefully, it's BH contractions, and all is well. Hope it's not an infection. Those suckers hurt!!!

Apr 9, 2009

For Rosie Lee Warner......

Today ain't the day for me to be even posting here. My friends and family know why. They also know I want space today, and don't really wanna talk to anyone. Considering this, I'm going to make this short and sweet. I'll try to not get mean or hateful here.

I don't talk about every single thing I'm working toward or researching on my blog. I don't have the time nor energy to sit here all day and update on every little thing I do or think or say. Just because I didn't mention my on-going research on circumcision, doesn't mean I have not put my child's health in the front of my mind. I don't know where you get off talking to people you don't know like that, but in my mind it makes for a very rude individual. Several names to call you come to my mind, only because you come here assuming you know all about me and my situation.

Since you know everything I think or do or say, can you figure out what these words are right now? Hopefully you are smart enough to figure it out.

If you're gonna come here to harass me and condone or belittle me, then GO THE F%$# away. If not, then feel free to hang around. Who knows, you might learn enough manners for me to learn something from you.

I've had a bad day. I'm going to bed. Hopefully today's meaning will not fnd me under the covers.

Apr 3, 2009

***sigh*** I wish I could be at home right now........

This night has sucked. Michael and Robbie got into an argument. I'm told it was over the fact that Michael wouldn't call me at work to see if Robbie could walk to some girl's house. I'm guessing it was raining at that time, although I don't know exactly when this all went down. So Robbie gets all mad and goes to cussing and whatever. I'm not exactly sure what was said between the two of them, but Michael says Robbie was being very disrespectful to him, in front of the company Michael had over.

Long story short, Robbie is back at Momma's. Which breaks my heart. Michael ended up calling me at work to tell me. I have been stuck here at work crying off and on since 9:30. At one point, I cried so hard I started hyperventilating and had to sit down. I'm so afraid my brother will go back to jail before I get to see him again, before I can tell him one more time, face to face, that I love him.

I'm afraid if that happens, he will do something to himself. After all, he tried the last time he was locked up, and they sent him to be evaluated. No one told me because they didn't want to upset me since I'm pregnant, which I understand. I am, after all, the family worrier. I worry about all my relatives, and try to take care of them all. But I can't, there's too much they all need and only one me. There's no where near enough of me to go around. So I'm left to chose what to try to help and what to let go the way it is. But how am I supposed to chose between people I love so much, when they need my help?

I worry so much about my mom, and my sister, and my grandparents. Are they OK? They say they are, but are they really OK? I worry even more about my brother. Will he stay out of trouble? Will he go back to jail? Will he try something stupid again? My sister-in-law, who is *thisclose* to going into labor and having her twins waaaay too early. My stepson. Do we spend enough time with him? Do enough for him? My pregnancy. It was so easy to get pregnant, and it's been such an easy pregnancy, I can't shake the feeling that something will go wrong still. Our bills. We are trying to help so many of our family members that it's starting to strain our budget. Not to serious proportions, but we have had to tighten our belts a little when it came to buying extras this past paycheck. Thankfully, Michael sold that old truck, if the guy brings the money. Another thing not helping the paycheck this past time was the two traffic tickets we had to pay. That was over $300 we could have used elsewhere.The next paycheck should have us back on track. Our finances could be a lot (and I mean a LOT) worse than they are. I'm grateful I have my job. Michael is supposed to go to work Monday temporarily, so that will help, too. Eric finally has enough work for Michael to be able to work with them a little bit. It's been rough on them, too. Eric has mostly been working for other people, not for himself.

I will be so glad when 6:00 gets here. I am so ready to go home and go to sleep. I'm so glad this is my last night at work until the last half of August or middle of September, depending on when I come back to work from my leave this summer. And my baby shower is Saturday, which should thrill me, but at the moment it doesn't help how I feel. Pooh is getting to come. We'll have to get our recliner and take it to the shower or something, because she can't sit straight up. She has to recline or lay on her side. So I don't know how we're going to do that. I guess we'll see. I wish our recliver was smaller. It would be easier to bring downstairs and get to the community center. I'm leaving that up to Michael. I don't have the energy or mental capacity to deal with it right now.

6:00 better hurry up and come soon.

Apr 2, 2009

To-Do list update... AKA post #40

Since I haven't marked anything off my list in a little while, I thought I would post an update. I hate that it looks like I haven't been working on it any. So, without further babbling:

1.) I tried to purchase a few maternity items that actually fit me. The shirts fit, the pants were all too big. Ao I packed the pants back up, and shipped them back to Old Navy for them to exchange for smaller sizes. I have been working toward this item, but I don't feel I can officially cross it off my list until I have both pants and shirts that fit. At least a few of each for now. I'm not buying an entire wardrobe of stuff that will fit me now, because it probably won't fit in a month or so.... I digress.....

2.) I have been slowly clearing stuff off my old desktop computer. It is a slow process because it takes so long to burn a CD from that computer, coupled with the fact that I have limited time to work on this. But I am slowly making headway on this. I guess that's all that matters in the end, right? Again, not marking off until completely finished.

3.) I have begun cleaning out kitchen cabinets. The food cabinets have been done, although not inventoried. I still have the cabinets full of dishes to do, as well as all my drawers in the kitchen, and the tops of my cabinets. Same story as with the computer. Limited time, but making some progress.

4.) I have somewhat updated my calendar, but since this is always gonna be an ongoing thing, I choose to not mark it off the list.

5.) I have made just a little progress under the bathroom sink. I moved all our bottles of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, etc. to the front of the cabinet, and put things like my bath jet thingy and baskets of "stuff" in the back. Again, not completely done, so not marked off. But progress.

6.) I have submitted paperwork for filing on last year's HCSA, as well as some of this year's prenatal appointments (I could not find one co-pay receipt from this calendar year, so it has not been submitted). This hasn't been marked off, because I have not received approval and reimbursement yet. If the one charge from last year's funds hasn't been approved by close of business Friday, I am planning on submitting other charges from 2008 to ensure I receive all $17 and some cents left in my account for last year. The federal government will NOT steal my $17 ad some cents from me, by golly! Not if I can help it!

So, six more items that I have worked on at least a little bit. Better than nothing. Too bad I didn't have my registry down as a to-do. I could actually mark something off. Oh, well, baby steps. Some progress is better than none at all.

Maybe before the outage starts, I can mark these items off my list. I would feel better if I could. I know during the outage not much will get done that doesn't have to be done by me. Clean clothes for work, doctors appointments kept, and groceries bought is about all anyone can expect out of me then. If they expect much more, they will be sadly disappointed. :)

28 weeks

T-minus 84 days and counting.....

Although I hope I don't make it 84 more days.... :) More like anything over 70 but less than 84 days.

Another way to look at this is, 12 more weeks or less (hopefully not more) to go!

My Week 28 milestone: I actually updated my registry and added almost everything we still need to it. I'm sure my family will be shocked, awed, and amazed. And there's still 2 shopping days left before my shower! LOL.

(For those reading who don't know me in real life, I only say this because all of my family and close friends have been calling and emailing to ask where I am registered at, what do we still need, etc. I'm not grubbing for gifts here. I'm making a joke out of my procrastinating self finally having finished my registry. I have only told those who asked directly about my registry, or what we still need. I have not done anything drastic and greedy, like emailing a list of requested items to people who haven't asked. Anything we get at the shower is fine, even if it's only a "Congratulations" card. Being thought of is better than nothing, and if a basket full of cards is all we get, then at least we know we are loved and our child will be loved by our family and friends. So don't go leaving me any snarky, idiotic comments calling me greedy and telling me what a horrible mother I am for fishing for presents. Again, for the reading-impaired, I only gave this info to those who DIRECTLY requested it. Hopefully, another fiasco like some of the comments left on this post, over a simple remark about circumcision, will not occur here about my registry. If it does, rest assured I will be here to curse someone out next time. Just kidding. Maybe.)

Another week 28 milestone: While I can still wear my scrub bottoms to work, I have had to abandon the matching tops, due to the fact that it is becoming really difficult to get them off once they're on me. And I only have 3 pairs of scrub bottoms that still fit me comfortably.

Also, my beloved Calvin Klein jeans my grandmother bought me for Christmas over a year ago, are about to be stored in the back of my closet. Even though they are low-cut, and were ever so slightly too big for me pre-pregnancy, tonight they feel like I may never peel them back off of my body. They feel so tight on my lower stomach. I had to wear jeans because I didn't wash any of my scrub bottoms for tonight, and I also didn't ask Michael to wash any, either. When I woke up, I found that they were all dirty. So I washed them, and he dried them. No blue jeans for me tomorrow night! Although the extra support under my belly would be great if these pants weren't just a little too tight.