Friday, August 5, 2011

Y3W: It's Already August!!

Can someone please tell me where the summer went?

I can't believe we are already here, in the month of August! In the student affairs world, this is when life starts to get busy again - making plans, lots of hiring of student assistants, trainings out the wahzoo, and yes, the super fabulous Welcome Week with programming taking place around the clock. So, as you can see, the arrival of August marks the winding down of my summer and the gearing up for fall!

So much has happened this summer!

First, the arrival of my beautiful daughter, Audrey Grace:

 And look how much she has grown over the summer:

We also took a trip to OBX:

Went to a baseball game:

Played with friends:

And played at the pool... a lot...:

While I know the summer isn't over yet, and we still have plenty of fun activities planned - Filipino Festival - I can't believe it's already August!!

What are your three words this week? Link up!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

{Diet} Dr. Pepper Meatballs - What's Cookin'

First of all, let me give credit where credit is due: I got this recipe from and it is called Lyndsie's Dr. Pepper Meatballs. I went ahead and doubled the recipe so we could have leftovers for lunches, and used Diet Dr. Pepper instead of regular just because I am a fan :)

This recipe took a little longer than my family would like to wait for dinner, but if you are super organized the meatballs can be prepared the night before and then refridgerated. Or, you could utilize your crock pot and throw the meatballs and the sauce in the morning and cook on low all day.


2.75lbs of Ground Turkey
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 packages of  ranch dressing mix
1 onion, minced
2 green pepper, minced
2 cans of Diet Dr. Pepper
2 cups of Ketchup
1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Here's what you need:

Oops...Forgot the ranch seasoning...

The first step I tackled was chopping up the onion and green peppers. I like to get all of the prep work done and the recipe called for 2 minced green peppers and 1 minced onion. Easy right? I thought I'd just pull out my handy dandy Bullet and mince those bad boys, but instead I got green baby food with giant chunks.

So by hand it was - which added more time to the overall process...

Ahhh - much better!

 After all that chopping, I needed a nice glass of Diet Dr. Pepper!

In a large bowl, I combined 2.75lbs of ground turkey, two handfuls of the chopped green pepper, two handfuls of the onion, the two packets of ranch seasoning, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 2 eggs, and 2.5 cups of bread crumbs (you could probably get away with just 2 cups if you like a firmer meatball). I also sprinkled in some black pepper and garlic powder. 

Then, using my hands (remember to remove any jewelry), I combined all of the ingredients together until it looked like this:  

Still using my hands, I formed the meat into large (approx. 2inch) balls and placed them into a 9x13 casserole dish that I had greased with extra virgin olive oil so the meatballs wouldn't stick.

I placed the meatballs in a 375F oven and moved on to the fun part, the sauce! In a large pot ( I used a pot because I thought I would have to heat up the sauce, but you don't, so a large bowl would work as well), I put in the rest of the onion and green pepper, 2 cups of ketchup (I will use tomato sauce next time I do this recipe - I think the ketchup is too sweet), 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, the whole can of diced tomatoes (the recipe called for 2 cups, but it turned out fine), a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of black pepper and garlic, and the finishing touch - 24oz of Diet Dr. Pepper.

This is what the concoction looked like after I added the Diet Dr. Pepper:

And after I mixed all of the ingredients together:

After about 15-20 minutes, I pulled the meatballs out of the oven.

And then, I added the sauce:

I covered the dish with foil and placed it in the oven for about 45 minutes. Then, I removed the foil and baked it an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Look what came out of the oven:

I let the meatballs rest for another 10-15 minutes and paired with some white rice and seasonal vegetables. 

Overall, the dish was tasty - it was a little sweet which I was not expecting so I think that caught me off-guard. I actually enjoyed it much more the next day when I brought it to work to share with a few of my favorite coworkers. For lunch, I left out the rice which made the meatballs taste better. When I do this recipe again, I will pair with brown rice. I think that texture and taste of brown rice will counter the sweetness of the sauce a little better than the white rice.

So, in conclusion, if your looking for an adventure, like a little sweetness, and have about 2 hours to prepare a meal - try making these {Diet} Dr. Pepper Meatballs!

If you try this recipe or have done it in the past, please comment and feel free to email me pictures! I'm planning to blog the pictures you send in to me in the near future!

Monday, August 1, 2011

FOF: Taking Care of Two

I have a lot friends with just one child who are thinking about a second and always ask me to give them the real scoop on having a FOF - Family of Four, so here it is... the good, the bad, and the cranky!

A typical day for me begins at about 5:30am -ish and ends around 11:30pm-ish. Usually, Audrey wakes me up to eat sometime between 5am and 6am and then I am off to shower and get ready for the day. After I get myself ready, I get Audrey all dolled up for the day. Alex gets up while I am feeding Audrey and gets himself ready, makes coffee, and takes the dog for a walk. He then gets Vincent ready. This is a challenge most days since Vincent is very particular about what shirt he wants to wear (and lord help us if he decides he wants to wear something that is in the wash). Alex finally gets Vincent ready and we all go downstairs to get bags packed and coffee poured. Most of the time,  we are ready to go out the door, and then Vincent tells us he needs to use the bathroom, but not the downstairs bathroom ... so back up the stairs we go! Finally, we are ready to go out the door. Alex takes Vincent to school and I take Audrey to the babysitters - sometimes it's reversed depending on Alex's schedule.  SN: Vincent and Audrey go to two different places because Vincent goes to a Child Development Center on campus at my work and they only accept children from 16 months-5 years.

I have nooo idea what time I would get out the door in the morning if Alex did not handle half of the things he does, plus I would be without my coffee - and that is not a good situation!

At work, I pump, or at least try to pump, at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm  - we'll see how this goes once the semester starts!

I try to leave work between 4:15pm and 4:30pm depending on when I get in. I start up my kid shuttle and pick up Vincent and then Audrey. I usually get home around 5-5:30, set up Vincent with a drink and a TV show (yes, I let my TV babysit my child for half an hour) and empty out the diaper bag of dirty clothes, bottles, and bibs. By this time, Audrey is hungry and my husband has made it through the door. Once Audrey has eaten, it's time to think about our dinner and I make whatever I have pulled out of the freezer the night before whether it's ground beef for spaghetti (or tacos, a family favorite) or chicken or pork chops. After we eat, Alex takes Vincent upstairs for a bath!  Before we had 2 kids, this was my downtime. I could read or catch up on some DVR, but those days are over. Now, while Alex is upstairs wrangling Vincent into the bath, and then into pajamas, and then into bed (YES!), I am downstairs feeding Audrey, doing laundry (yes, almost every day now that we have two - one who is potty trained, but has accidents and one who spits up all.the.time), doing dishes, washing bottles, making bottles for the next day, and packing my lunch. By the time Alex is making his way downstairs, it's time for Audrey's bath and getting her put down between 9:30pm-10pm, so I am on my way upstairs. Once she is put down, I get to watch a little TV myself and relax. If I am super tired, I will put myself to sleep when I put Audrey down, but usually, I just torture myself by staying up way too late!

Before I know it, it is 5:30am again...

I know these days sound hectic and crazy and people are probably wondering why I have done this to myself, but being a mommy is very rewarding! The hugs, sweet conversations, and smooches make up for the lack of downtime, meltdowns, and tantrums and I know one day I will look back on this time as the most precious gift that went by way too quickly.

So, if you are thinking about having a FOF, it helps to be organized and flexible with a good sense of humor - pick your battles, don't sweat the small stuff, and get ready for a fun (in every sense of the word) journey!