Sunday, January 20, 2013

Top 10!

1. Hayes likes to walk around the house saying "hot toffee" while holding a cup and blowing on it. So stinkin' cute.

2. Hayes calls ketchup "dip it." Also cute. Not cute, when he eats ketchup with a spoon.

3. Ryan attempted to cut Hayes's hair last night. Let's just say that no one had fun during that adventure...

4. Ryan's cousin, Hilary, came over today with her hubby and adorable son, Greyson, for a visit. It was so great to see family. Keller is almost the same size as Greyson...and almost 5 months younger.

5. I feel like I need to start coupon-ing. But, you know what I've noticed? The foods I buy don't have coupons! I try to cook healthy, and I have not discovered a source of coupons for healthy foods...

6. Speaking of bargain hunting, I went on a diaper bargain hunt this weekend. I ended up at Babies R Us where they had gift card offers. With their specials, I got $20 off two large cases of diapers, $10 off a 30 pack of toilet paper, and $5 off a case of wipes. Of course the savings were applied to a BRU gift card, but that will certainly be needed for baby supplies in the future. Pretty pumped about those savings!

7. Due to the death of a tv, we had to re-arrange tvs in our house, leaving the area above our fireplace/mantle empty. I went to Home Goods and found the most beautiful, huge canvas to hang above the fireplace. Next up, giving the brick a white wash finish and creating a new look for our mantle. We should probably do some research on DIY network...

8. My Natalie and her hubby, Adam, found out they are expecting a baby boy!!!! Baby boy Verhalen will be here in June and I can't wait to meet the little sweetie! I feel like I'm going to be an Aunt again! And yes, I meant to say "my Natalie." Friend isn't enough of a descriptive term for our relationship.

9. Well, it's Mardi Gras season. If you go to a ball, watch out for the Valentin-is. They will get you. Also, asparagus tastes wonderful dipped in Cane's sauce. Trust me.

10. Keep praying for my babies. This crazy weather is keeping our house in sniffle mode and I am hoping it doesn't lead to worse!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brotherly Love

Hayes loves his brother. He will grab a pillow for his lap and snuggle in next to us on the couch so he can "hol de bebe." So of course, we place Keller in his lap, and Hayes's face lights up. I need to try to get those sweet moments on video where he says "hi, baby, hi" and gives Keller sweet kisses. While starting supper, I overheard Hayes asking to "hol de bebe" so I grabbed my camera and got a few sweet shots of these boys that melt my heart every stinkin' day.

Keller, meet Elmo. Elmo, this is Keller.

Sweet kiss, complete with lip smacking sound.

Not really sure why his hand must be on his head during brother bonding time...


I hope they always love each other this much...

Creamy Veggie Pasta

This pasta dish caught my eye on Pinterest. I'm always a little skeptical of greek yogurt, I still haven't fully embraced the slightly bitter flavor. I will say I was pleasantly surprised with this dish though. Ryan like it too...he had seconds;) I altered it a little from the is my version.

{Creamy Veggie Pasta}

1 lb whole wheat thin spaghetti
3 zucchinis, chopped to your preference
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes. halved
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
fresh or dried basil

Start by boiling water and cooking your pasta. In a large bowl, mix greek yogurt, cheese, and lemon juice. Add salt, pepper, and basil to taste. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add zucchini and cook until tender. I sliced mine in thin, short strips. Once zucchini is done, add garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and cook several more minutes until tomatoes are tender. Add veggies into yogurt mixture and stir, coating veggies. Add in your pasta, which should be done at this point, tossing until well mixed. Top with parm cheese and eat away!

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa

This was a super fast, super healthy, and super delicious side dish to make. Hayes LOVED it...and he is not a big broccoli fan. Original recipe found here.

{Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa}

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups broth or water
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Combine quinoa, broccoli and broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat, simmering for about 15-17 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hayes love

My baby is going to be 2 in one month! I've been so focused on taking pictures of Keller lately, that I worried Hayes was getting left out. Of course, Hayes does not share my concerns.

Nonetheless, I whipped my camera out and followed the boy around during one of Keller's naps.  Notice how hard he works to not look at the camera...

Love you, blondie!

DIY Christmas...

Yes, I know Christmas is way over. But, I made these fun Christmas decorations and just had to share them!

My inspiration for these came from this fun blog. Making these was so easy! I found some clip art images I liked, enlarged, printed, and cut them out and traced them onto my canvas. Using a q-tip, I spread glue inside the shape and then carefully filled in my glitter. I LOVE the way they turned out!

I saw a picture on Pinterest of a similar canvas and knew I wanted to re-create it. I found a fun font to use for this verse and printed it out in varying sizes. Using a pencil, I colored over the back of the words. I placed the words on the canvas and traced over the top of the letters. It was kinda hard to see my pencil tracing with the silver paint background, so I ended up free-handing most of it. I filled in the words with a Sharpie paint pen and voila!

Christmas is now officially over in McCormick blog land. Until next year! Or, later this year...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Breast is best?

If you don't want to read about breast feeding, don't read this ridiculously long post:)

A friend of mine is pregnant with her first and plans on breastfeeding. I told her I would give her some advice that I found helpful in my breastfeeding journey. And then I decided to just blog about it. Why not? Perhaps some other mommies-to-be will find this helpful. Or humorous. Who knows, we will see.

I am by no means an expert in breastfeeding. I did breastfeed Hayes until he turned 1 and started on whole milk. And the breastfeeding journey with Keller has been successful so far. So, I must know what I'm doing a little, right?

Ok, here goes. Katie's list of breastfeeding tips and things to expect and other random things:

After your baby is born, spend time staring at your new child and bonding and getting over the shock of giving birth. Make sure you get some skin to skin contact with your baby. Then, ask the nurse to help you with getting the baby to latch on for the first time. You will likely be in shock and tired and not totally feeling up to the task, and it is nice to have help, especially if it's your first time. Heck, I even needed the help my second time. With both boys, they started bouncing their little heads around looking for food not long after birth. Then, we jumped in to help them find the food and latch on. It was incredible how well they latched on the first they were born knowing how to eat.

After giving birth, your uterus needs to contract back to its normal state. Breastfeeding/pumping causes your uterus to contract and it doesn’t feel good. Be ready for these intense cramps when you are nursing for the first few days.  By the way, it hurts whether you are breastfeeding or not…

Go ahead and get used to having your lady parts man-handled. Who knows how many people saw your lady business while giving birth. Someone helping you get your baby to latch is nothing compared to that show.

Anytime your baby starts rooting, try nursing. Even if it's only been 10 minutes since the last feeding, try nursing. That fist goes in their little mouth, get ready to whip it out. This is especially important in those first few days. You are both learning and practice makes perfect! Also, the more often you nurse, the faster your milk comes in. For this reason, lots of guests those first few days can be awkward. Do not feel bad asking people to step out or excusing yourself to nurse.

Nipple confusion. It’s a real thing. Hayes had 2 bottles while he was in the hospital and I am convinced that it led to the difficulties we had with latching in the first few weeks. It is way easier for a baby to drink out of a bottle than it is to breastfeed. I recommend holding off on bottles for a few weeks. I plan on starting Keller on bottles at 7 weeks so that we get some practice in before daycare starts.

 It's going to hurt. Your body is not used to having a small person eating from it, and it will take some time to get used to this process and the new sensations it brings.

The pain will get better. Or maybe, you just lose the ability to feel anything. Regardless, it gets better:)

A bad latch can make you hate life. Seriously. With Hayes, I didn't know the difference between a bad latch and a good latch. I'm pretty sure 98% of feedings in the first few weeks were with a bad latch. So I had lots of pain. With Keller, I can tell a bad latch right away and we start over. I actually haven't had the pain that I did with Hayes, and I think this might be why.

You might have bleeding and blisters. And they are not fun. But they do go away. Making sure the latch is good is important in making the pain go away and even preventing blisters.

After your baby is born, have a doctor or nurse check out their frenulum. Hayes's went to the very tip of his tongue, which made his latch awful. Once we got his frenulum clipped, his latch was perfect.

What does a good latch feel like?'s hard to put this into words. Let's try this. A bad latch is excruciating, pulsing pain. It feels like the latch isn't very deep and the baby doesn't have very much of you in their mouth. You can feel every little suck and every little suck is a new surge of pain. A good latch might hurt a little at first, but you feel like the baby has a deep, constant suction. Maybe "tugging" is a good word for how a good latch feels...

When they say drink lots of water, they aren't kidding. Drink lots of water. At least one large glass with each feeding. And make sure you eat plenty. Not drinking enough water and not eating enough will make your milk supply drop. And it will also make you feel sick. You need to eat enough to meet your nutritional needs and your baby's.

To make eating and drinking easier, get it ready before you nurse so you can do so while nursing. Think about finger foods to eat. Chances are, baby will want to eat when you are ready to and having food that is easy to eat with one hand will help, lots. Although, it is amazing what you get good at doing with one hand. By the end of maternity leave with Hayes, I could eat soup with my left hand while nursing and not spill a drop. Impressive, I know.

Eating rules aren’t as strict as they were during pregnancy. From what I’ve read you can eat pretty much anything, although it might be good to avoid foods with a family history of allergic reactions. Some foods you eat can also make baby have gas…like dairy.

Nipple shield. It could save your life. It saved mine when Hayes and I had no clue what we were doing. Lactation consultants say "noooooo!" I say, do whatever gets you through the feeding. It goes on you and makes it easier for the baby to latch.

I can't live without nursing sleep bras. They are comfortable and easy to shove out of the way for feedings. Medela runs small, Motherhood Maternity runs big. But I have some of each and use them all.

In the beginning, I recommend shirts/nursing tops that you can pull down to nurse. It's easier to manage when you are figuring what they heck you are doing.

Nursing pads are useful if you like to avoid large wet spots on your shirt. Eventually, my milk supply was manageable and I didn't need them. But, they are necessary in the beginning.

If you need to remove the baby from your breast for any reason and they are still latched on, don't just pull the baby off. That will HURT. Take your pinky and place it in the baby's mouth between their teeth and your to break the suction.

Do I like burning 500 calories a day just feeding my child? Yes. Yes I do.

I think only moms who love to breastfeed might think this. Or maybe only I think this. But there is just something seriously adorable about a baby who is nursing. Especially when they are awake and looking around and eating furiously. I've told Ryan multiple times that I feel sorry for him for not being able to breastfeed, because he misses out on the cuteness that I just can't even explain.

The bonding with your baby while breastfeeding is indescribable. And worth the pain and blisters. For me, anyway.

Sometimes, milk will just squirt out. And when it squirts out and hits your baby in the face while they are trying to latch on, it's hilarious.

Breast milk is easier to digest than formula. Also, babies digest breast milk faster.

Everyone’s breast milk has a unique flavor. The flavor of your breast milk is also affected by what you eat, which is a great way to expose your baby to different flavors before they start eating food.

I totally tasted my breast milk once. It was sweet, kinda like cantaloupe juice.

In the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” they use windex as a cure-all. Breast milk…kinda the same. You can use it on baby acne or scratches to help healing. Also, breast milk is great to use on your own nips if they are sore, cracked, etc.

Mastitis is an awful infection that occurs in your breast tissue.  You feel like you have the flu, you get crazy high fevers, and you have sharp breast pain. If you develop a high fever, get to a doctor asap. You can start an antibiotic immediately to clear it up. Ignoring symptoms is not a good idea. Also, you should still breastfeed while you have mastitis. Your milk isn’t infected and you don’t want to decrease your supply or end up with clogged ducts while sick. I had mastitis 5 times with Hayes. Terrible!

Don’t heat breast milk in the microwave! Use a bottle warmer or pan of water on the stove. Also, breast milk separates after pumping. Swirl the breast milk, don’t shake it!

Nursing through illness is a good thing. You pass along antibodies to your baby. It’s not easy for you, but still good for baby.

So you know how bottle nipples just have one hole? Well that’s not how your nips work. There are many different “holes” that milk comes out of. Crazy!

In conclusion, breastfeeding can be hard. It's lots of work, especially for a first time mom. Well, it's a lot of work for a second time mom who has a newborn to feed and a toddler running around. But taking care of a newborn is a lot of work regardless of the feeding approach you take. I am so glad I have been able to breastfeed both of my boys.  I was sad when Hayes was done and I will be sad when Keller is done. It was hard to figure out, but once I got the hang of it, it became second nature.

Like I said, these are all based on my experience only. Everyone has a different experience and opinions and tricks. I got my best advice from friends who had recently breastfed or who were currently breastfeeding. And the best advice ever, just do what works for you. No one knows your body or baby better than you. Trust your instincts as a mom.

Random Quesadillas

Tonight, we had the most random quesadillas. And they pretty much rocked our socks off.  When you read this, you will think we are crazy. We probably are.

{Turkey Quesadillas}

whole wheat tortillas
baked turkey breast, chopped
mozz cheese
dried cranberries

Told you it was random. I seasoned my turkey breast with garlic salt, onion powder, and chipotle chili pepper and baked it earlier in the day. I used our counter-top griddle so that we could make multiple quesadillas at once. For quesadilla construction, I like to start with a layer of cheese to help hold things together. I added turkey, spinach, avocado, and cranberries and finished it off with another layer of cheese. Cook until golden and slightly crispy on each side.

So...these quesadillas are good with a fun mix of flavors alone, but we wanted something to dip them in. I checked the fridge and found some remoulade dressing I had made previously for salads. I tried it out and loved it! Although I think I would love that dressing on anything. So, here is the recipe for remoulade dressing that I found here.

{Remoulade Dressing}

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons creole or whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/3 cup ketchup

Mix all ingredients together. I put mine in a mason jar and shook until combined. Store in refrigerator.

Told ya. Random quesadillas. Enjoy, if you are brave;)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Smart Cookies!

It's that time again...time for Hayes to move into a new room. I wanted to do something fun for his teachers and turned to Pinterest for help. This cookie recipe was literally the first thing I pinned on Pinterest, and I finally got around to trying it out.

My thoughts on this recipe:
1. Amazing cookies. Seriously. Amazing.
2. Makes a TON of dough.
3. If you are making the whole recipe, get a BIG bowl. And be ready to make cookies for days.

{Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies}

1 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups + 2 tbsp pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 lbs chocolate, coarsely chopped

*A few ingredient notes: the pastry flour/bread flour combo is crucial to the final product, don't substitute with AP flour; I prefer chocolate chunks, so I picked up some semisweet chocolate baking bars and broke them into large chunks and the outcome was incredible. 

Start by creaming together butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mix well after each egg. With the mixer on low, add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Add in the chocolate chunks last. Now you are ready to bake!

Preheat the oven to 350. Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Start scooping dough onto the cookie sheets! I did pretty big scoops and could only fit 6 cookies on my large cookie sheet at a time. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how big your cookies are. Let them cool for a few minutes on the pan before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

I put these cookies in clear gift sacks and attached this super cute and free printable. And there you have it! A fun and tasty treat for some special teachers!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Top 10

1. I started watching Parenthood on demand this week. Cried during every single episode. Every. single. one. And even though I cried, I love this show and can't stop watching.

2. So all of these "That moment when..." status updates...annoy me. Finish the sentence! My grammar isn't always perfect on here, I prefer to think I write like I am talking to you and that means grammar isn't always a priority. But, "That moment when..." That moment when what?! What about that moment? Ugh! Finish the statement, please!!

3. Championship game was sad. I wish Notre Dame would have played like they did all season. I have been a SEC girl since the day I was born...BUT...I was really annoyed by the cocky SEC comments on facebook. They aren't the only football conference, annoying facebook people.

4. I have a feeling I might be stepping on some "facebook toes" in this Top 10. Oh well. Feeling a little feisty today. It's my blog. Best place I can think of to voice my opinions.

5. My 3 boys mean the world to me. I love spending time with them and wouldn't trade that for anything in the whole world...even when things get chaotic. But. Taking a hot shower is one of my most favorite things I do every day. It's become my "me time."

6. My 5 week old baby is already moving into 3-6 month clothes. Those 0-3 month suckers are already getting too short. And I already need to move the car seat straps up a level...once again, tall baby. Stop growing so fast!

7. In response to #6, my sweet little precious tiny adorable baby just filled his diaper. And not with pee. Being a mommy is glamorous.

8. If you are looking for a really nice hotel to stay in, you probably shouldn't choose one of the Relax Inns. Just a thought. I'm pretty sure it's actually considered a motel, not hotel. Although they have very prompt cleaning service.

9. Only one person in the whole wide world will get #8.

10. Praying for health during this gross winter weather. Our house has been taken over by runny noses.

Keller is 1 month old!

My sweet baby boy is 1 month old! This month has gone by so fast. Keller is such a strong little man and holds his head up like a champ. He loves sitting up in our laps and looking around. We have been getting some cute smiles from him lately, which absolutely melt my heart!

Nana made this blanket for Keller's bed!

Even though it may not seem like it, he is loving sitting next to his owl. A few weeks before Keller was born, I panicked because he didn't have a special stuffed animal from mommy and daddy. I went to 3 stores before I found this precious owl, which matches his room perfectly!

Keller celebrated his one month birthday by a visit to the dr's office for his first cold. Not such a fun milestone, but I suppose those happen fast when you have a big brother who loves to give sweet kisses...and doesn't understand hand washing importance.

At one month old, Keller weighs almost 12 pounds! He is sooo long and is already too long for many of his 0-3 month outfits. He eats every 3 hours during the day and will go 4-6 hours in between feedings at night. He does great sleeping in between feedings at night so far...let's hope that continues!

We love you, Keller!

Lovin' on Keller

We have all enjoyed loving on Keller. He is such a good cuddle buddy and he's so cute, it's hard to keep our hand off of him! Here are a few pictures of us getting some Keller time...

 Thanks, Aunt Kristin, for editing these precious pics!

Merry Christmas!

We enjoyed a low key Christmas this year. We spent Christmas eve hanging out with our baby boys. We read "The Night Before Christmas" together before Hayes went to bed. Of course, Ryan had to tell Hayes all about the man who was going to sneak into our house in the middle of the night. Hayes went to bed saying "No no, Santa. Outside." Nice, Dad. Real nice.

Santa didn't follow the instructions to stay outside, thank goodness. If he did, the boys would have missed out on some fun presents!

Hayes's first words on Christmas morning after "no no, santa. Outside" were "Elmo!!!"

Keller slept through the festivities.

Hayes enjoyed opening presents from Santa, mommy, daddy, and all the grandparents.

The weekend after Christmas, we traveled to Delphos to celebrate with Ryan's family. I was a bad, I was a busy mom...and didn't take pictures. But we had a great time hanging out with family and meeting our new nephew, Callen, who was born the day before Keller.

Our Christmas was perfect and we are so glad we got to enjoy it with our two sweet boys! We hope yours was wonderful!

Black Eyed Pea Dip

This dip will knock your socks off, guaranteed. I found it here.

{Black Eyed Pea Dip}

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 16oz can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 envelope buttermilk ranch mix
1 cup shredded cheese, I used colby jack

Melt butter in a cast iron skillet. Add onion and saute until golden. In a bowl, mix sour cream, mayo, and ranch mix. Add all remaining ingredients and sauteed onions and mix until combined. Pour it all back into the cast iron skillet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Enjoy!!!

Organize my life!!!

New family organization system needed! I'm not sure if this is a resolution...or post-baby nesting. Regardless, I have had way too much fun organizing a binder to organize my life and home.

I've pinned a few organization printable links throughout the last year and I decided it was time to do something with them. I spent all day organizing my binder in between feedings and naps and I am super happy with my new system! I am going to share my home binder with you as well as links to the printables I used. I designed this based on what our family needs and my personal preferences.

Section 1: Monthly Finance Planner

I like to organize my finances by month on a full calendar. I like being able to see easily when paychecks are coming and bills are due all on one sheet. I used these printables for this section. Because I like pretty pens and because I do have some OCD tendencies sometimes, I color code information I put on my calendars. Bills are in blue, Ryan's paydays are in green, and mine are in pink. Once a bill has been paid, I cross it off. I use the pocket on the divider to keep our non-normal bills in (hospital bills, speech licensure bills, etc.) The rest of our statements get filed.

Section 2: Weekly Planner

In this section, I have a sheet for each week. I found this printable that I love! The sheet is divided into daily sections with extra spaces for food, activities, and a weekly to-do list. I really like this feature to keep up with dr appointments, play dates, etc. I am also using these sheets for weekly to-dos, like scheduling appointments, sending thank yous, etc. I also created an "on-going to do" list for this section. This list is for projects that we want to accomplish eventually, but aren't urgent (paint fireplace, buy new entertainment center, etc.).

Section 3: Cleaning

Don't laugh! But keeping up with your house can be tough with one kid. And then came #2. We stay on top of the obvious, but I feel like we could use reminders for the smaller things. I like the idea of staying on top of all cleaning on a weekly basis so that there is never a "oh my gosh I'm freaking out because we have friends coming over and the house is a mess" situation. Not that our friends would care if our house was super messy...we do have two small children, after all:) I didn't like the printables I found, so I created my own. I have a different list for each day of the week. There are a few chores that are on every day: dishes, toys, kitchen counters. I added 2 extra cleaning tasks for each day so that the cleaning is spread out throughout the week. I also added extra tasks for each weekend of the month to spread out the deep cleaning tasks, such as baseboards, vents, blinds, windows, fridge, etc.

Section 4: Menus

I plan a menu every week for our family to make grocery shopping easier. My plan for this section is to record several weeks of menus so that I can look back for easier menu planning in the future.

Section 5: Coupons

I get so many coupons each week from stores that we actually shop at often...and they always end up in a pile shoved somewhere in the kitchen. Now they are easy to find and out of the way!

Section 6: Special Dates

In this section, I have all family birthdays and anniversaries recorded. I can be pretty awful at remembering this makes it easier. I also printed the "what we did" monthly sheets from these printables for this section. This will make keeping up with the boys' milestones and fun family memories easier.

Section 7: Fitness

This binder was my workout I just kept all of my workouts in the back for easy referencing.

So, there you have it! My organization binder! I love it and am super excited about using it. I started this post about 2 weeks ago and have been using my binder lots in the last two weeks. Hope this post helps you if you have a goal of organizing this year too!