Friday, June 29, 2012

Adventures in Baby Hair Day 2 WITH tips.... is our fun for today...It went much faster than yesterday's fun...(I remembered the spare comb today so she could chew on it...which, of course, kept her facing forward and far less fidgety...)

This one is pretty self-explanatory from looking at the picture

Gather a section at the top of the head in the middle and pull it into a piggy. Split the tail portion in half and  create a part with the remaining hair in the middle of the head. Add the two sections of tail to the two sections of hair to create two more piggy tails at the back of the head. 

top view

Comb chewing view....
I had some friends message me on Facebook the other day to ask some questions and for some tips. They were pretty much amazed that I could get my 8 month old to sit still for me to do her hair. So, here are the answers to those FAQ's for everyone that is wondering...

1) When did you start doing her hair?

I started doing the Little Diva's hair in pig tails at about 3 months. She had enough hair that I could have started at 2 months, but, being a preemie, she had some very prominent soft spots that made me nervous. I wanted to wait for them to close up a bit so that she wouldn't get a headache from her hair being pulled up into an elastic tightly.

2) Did it make you nervous?

Not really...I had opted to wait because of her soft spots, but when I noticed that they weren't as prominent and decided to do the piggies, I knew that I was going to be gentle as possible. The biggest advice I can give to anyone who wants to start doing their baby's hair is to not do it every day at first and get help where you can. Also, remember that there will be tears involved. Just be as gentle as possible and remember that as long as you're not tugging at the scalp, you're not hurting them, they are just uncomfortable with the new sensation.

3) How much crying is involved, really?
I won't lie, the first couple of times, there were many tears. You have to realize that its a new experience, and to feel you tugging at their hair (no matter how lightly you do it) isn't necessarily a pleasant experience for baby. You learn quickly how to distract baby while you do it.  For the first little bit, I only did piggies on weekends when my husband could be there to hold her and distract her with funny faces while I did it. Sometimes she was quiet as a lamb, others she screamed and thrashed, it really depended on the day and how patient she was being.  Once she hit about 6 months, she stopped crying when I did her hair all together- unless, of course, I was taking too long and her little tummy muscles were tired from sitting up.  I also learned of her fascination with the comb when she was 6 months old, and that helps a lot. I have an old red comb that is a full comb (not a rat tail like the one in the picture...I couldn't find it this morning) and I cleaned it up. I feel pretty comfortable letting her chew on that because she doesn't have as much of a chance of gagging herself as I'm doing her hair (she has a tendency to like to chew on things at the very back of her gums...she always gags on her fingers and happens about a million times a day, so I have to be careful about what I let her chew on...) She recently became fascinated with the spray bottle. Rarely do I have to spray her hair down twice, so I let her play with it. Its actually pretty amusing for me because you can watch her little brain work as she tries to figure out how the water comes out.

4) How do you get her to sit still? 
See the above comment. Until I discovered her fascination with the comb, when I was on my own and didn't have Daddy the Awesome Distractor to help me, I found a rattle or one of her favorite toys and let her hold it and play with it while I did it. When she was really little (early on at the 3-4 month age range) I usually only did the hair at the front in piggies (think of it as a half up do) and would lay over her and pull it up from the front as opposed to from behind. This would work too because I could be the one making silly faces or making funny sounds to keep her happy.  Again, being quick is the key. I would always opt for a side part at first and start with the larger section of hair in case she ran out of patience after the first piggy. Since it was pulled to the side, it always looked cute with a bow and looked like I meant to do it (even if I meant to give her double piggy tails that day.

5) How old was she when you were able to start doing more "extravagant" hairstyles?
I found that right around 6 months she started getting a little more patient...but again, it would vary from day to day...When you get ready to start trying more complicated hairstyles with more piggies, just be prepared to pull out a few of them and wait 10 or 20 minutes to start again on something less complicated if they aren't going to cooperate that day.

6) How long is her hair right now?
Faith's hair is just barely touching her shoulders at the tips at this point.  However, because its so curly, when it dries without being pulled up it looks much shorter (like it falls just to her ears) 

7) Why would you do that to your baby? Aren't you worried you'll hurt them?
This answer isn't very scientific...I will say this: My mom started doing my hair and all of my sisters' hair at around 2-3 months because we had enough hair.  I have a very tough head, and part of me wonders if it is a result of her being willing to take the time to do it. Its a personal choice. You don't have to do your baby's hair if she has enough early on- you can totally wait. I can honestly say that I am grateful I started at 3 months because now at 8 months she is trained pretty well to sit still and she doesn't think anything of having things in her hair so she doesn't constantly tug at the style or pull it out.  I'm not worried I'm hurting her. I haven't seen her hair falling out, in fact its been getting longer, thicker and stronger...I am always gentle and I never force her to do something that she doesn't want to do...if she isn't digging having her hair done in the style I'd like for the day, I have no problem going with a headband or just clipping a flower in it that day and scrunching the curls.  You know your baby...if you don't think your baby can handle it yet, then don't do it. 

In conclusion...(I feel like I'm writing a college paper...LOL) 

These tips will likely work no matter when you start doing baby's hair. I know some people who have baby girls older than Faith that are still pretty much bald...its okay. No need to panic. Hair grows when its ready and when genetics say its time. If you were bald until you were 2 and your baby is bald, its likely that your baby will be in the same boat. We are very lucky to live in a time when there are lots of options with headbands and clips to dress up any little girl! Just be prepared that there will be a learning curve for you and for baby whenever you choose to start- whether they are 2 months or 2 years old.  Be patient and try to have fun with it...If its ever not fun, then maybe that isn't the day to try that style...Just remember to try, try again if you really want something to work and eventually it will, it just takes time for baby to build up an attention span and patience with your light tugs. 

Happy Hair-doin'!
Hugs and Loves until next time darlings!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Adventures in Baby Hair

I've said it a few times, but I will say it again...My baby has the most unruly, curly hair on the planet! I have to do something with it every day, otherwise she looks like this perfect cross between Einstein and an orphan child....

I give you Exhibit A:
Today's hairstyle isn't exactly a Brittany Nielson original (I found it on Pinterest)...but I am pretty proud of it because its the first time that she has sat still long enough to let me a) finish it and b) have it be decent looking.

Simply start sectioning the hair off using a side part. Be sure to get your first section pulled back far enough that you don't have the elastic sitting far enough forward that you can see it...(you may like it, but it looks weird to me). Start by making a piggy tail using the section that is on the short side of the part (ie the side with less hair). Take your comb and separate another section. Add this section to the first piggy tail and tie them together with an elastic close to the scalp. Repeat this around the head. You should end up with 4 sections. (No shame if you end up with more or less depending on how much hair you're dealing with.  4 seems to be the magic number for us and leaves the last piggy looking more like a side ponytail.)  

Dress it up and add a cute little bow to the last section piggy tail. I find that there really isn't enough hair with my baby yet to let it stand on its, who doesn't like bows???( I made this bow myself...I love being crafty!)

Here is a better picture of the back. 
Good luck mommies!  If you need better instructions, let me know and I will revamp the blog. :)

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sensational Saturay

Jeff and I sat down (or rather fell down) at the end of the day on Saturday and agreed that we hadn't had such a full, activity filled day since we got married.  We were lucky enough that the house was in order and we had no errands to run- those days are rare when we start his weekend off from work.

We, on a whim, decided to go to hit some yard sales. I was hoping we'd be able to find some things that I could fix up for the new baby (like a crib, bedding, you know all that stuff that you realize you don't have enough of when your current baby is only going to be 10 1/2 mos old when her little sister gets here?) 

We did find a few cribs and things, but I was SHOCKED by what people were asking for them. I know the point of a yard sale is to haggle a bit, but honestly, the prices were so ridiculous there was no point.  One crib was beautiful and converted to a toddler bed, and was definitely worth the asking price, but we just couldn't afford it...the other...well we could have gotten the same set up for the same price BRAND NEW in the store....we did manage to find a Little Einsteins baby gym for the new baby for $10 (usually $50 in the store, so I thought we did well) and a big pile of books for the Little Diva (as I was getting sick of reading the same 3 over and over...a dollar a piece for board books and touch and feel books is a pretty good deal.) 

Jeff found more deals than me, he got a video game he'd been eyeing in the store for $10 (as opposed to the regular $40-60 sale price), a shelf unit for the garage for $1 and a bunch of  tools that he'd been looking for for $5. 

I went home a bit dejected, and running low on faith that we'd find what we were looking for at a decent price before the Divine Miss Cupcake makes her arrival in September. 

I decided to stop being dejected and that we would just go have some fun instead. Since we were both feeling up to it, we decided to take Faith to the splash pad for the first time. Of course, we forgot the camera and ended up having to take some not so great pictures with Jeff's phone and have his mom email them back to us (we're cheap and refuse to pay for internet for our phones...we don't need them beeping at us all day long... If I want to know what's in my inbox, I'll check it myself, without a prompt, thank you very much...)'s a cheesy photo montage from the splash pad.  

First time in a swing!!!

I think its safe to say she likes it...

First time down a slide (with assistance, of course...)

Playing in the water with daddy

Splashing, wet, and happy! Love that we can do stuff like this for FREE!

Just chilling in her own private area of the wading big...LOL

When we came home, I decided I would hit Craig's List to see what kinds of cribs were out there that people weren't trying to group in with a yard sale...I was again pretty dejected by what I was finding- everything was just so OVERPRICED!  Because I had nothing better to do, I sat with my search page open for an hour and hit refresh every 10 minutes just to see what would pop up...and then- there it was!  $100 convertible crib with a dresser that attached on the side and 2 drawers underneath. It came with 2 mattresses- one crib mattress and one toddler mattress...I opened the ad  not really knowing what to wasn't the dark color I was hoping for, it was a blonde wood- but it was sturdy, in good shape, converted to a toddler bed and it solved the age old question "Where are we going to put everything in the nursery?"  

Jeff drove up to North Vegas and after looking it over, he decided to bring it home....

BEHOLD our new project!
Its fairly decent, there are just a few pieces that are pretty scratched up.  We're thinking we will leave sections of it the blonde color, and because paint is easier to upkeep, we're going to paint the larger portions a nice dark/chocolate brown color or black to update it and spruce it up a bit.

I will post pics of our little project as we DIY baby! 

I'm also hoping to start the nursery soon too...I'll be posting pics as I get projects done.  I'm pretty excited, I'm going to do it in an old school Care Bears theme. I have a cute idea for some new nursery letters, mobiles and wall decorations. If you live in an apartment, or you're afraid to paint the walls in your house (I know some people that feel that way) then you won't want to miss my little projects...hopefully, they will give some people a little inspiration for their own decorating needs.  

Well, I have a crabby Little Diva crawling around next to me. She's mad because I won't let her play with the computer, so I'd better scurry!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fantastic Father's Day

Well, Father's Day has come and gone in the Nielson household like a tornado.  It almost seemed to go too fast, and I found myself wishing that things could have slowed down a few days before so everything could be "picture perfect"....but life isn't always "picture perfect" and it would be pretty boring if it was.  I had lots of grand plans and schemes and only a few came to fruition.

I am blessed with the most amazing husband. He is such a doting and devoted father and, truth be told, he deserves more than one day a year to be honored for all that he does for me and our little growing family.

We kicked off Father's Day on Saturday in a way. We had planned to go to one of the parks in our area that had a splash pad and have a picnic, but we opted instead to eat Little Caesars in our apartment and let the Little Diva take a nap. By the time the Little Diva woke up, Jeff didn't really feel like going out, so we opted to go out to the pool instead.  Faith LOVES swimming...but we may have waited a bit long to go out to the pool. By the time we went out, it was dangerously close to bedtime and, while we couldn't get her to look at the camera to save our lives because she was so transfixed on getting in the water and splashing, and she enjoyed playing with daddy in the water for a little while, we didn't stay out as long as we normally fact, I would wager that we were out for 20 minutes at most before she made it very clear that she was ready to come back in the house and relax before bedtime.

She loves her daddy, but I think the water was calling her name!
27 weeks in all its glory...My pianist for ward choir mentioned that I looked like I was ready to "pop" on Sunday...hooray for tall babies...I don't know if I mentioned it, but at the 20 week scan they were surprised by how long baby #2 is...I guess The Divine Miss Cupcake takes after her daddy and big sister in that regard.


The joy of water in her face after she splashed herself...its always one of the first things she does when she gets in the pool.

Kicking her legs to try to swim to daddy...we have to hold her pretty tight because she  really, really wants to swim on her own...

Finally with daddy! She loves to swim with him, and (contradictory to the number of pictures available) she was with daddy in the water for much longer than she was with me.  Daddy swishes her around in the water super fast in circles- she loves it!
This was where we decided it was time to get out...she started whining and kept at it...there were almost tears, so we decided it was time to call it a day.

One wet, happy family!

Safe in a towel- but super tired!

Yeah...I mentioned the tired part, right????
Father's Day morning, I was going to give Jeff breakfast in bed, but the night before we found a cockroach in our bedroom hiding in a box of Cheez-its that we'd been eating for movie night a few nights before...needless to say, a new rule of "no food in the bedroom" was I got up to make him breakfast while he played Starcraft and other games on his computer. When the Little Diva woke up, it was time for the festivities to truly begin...

Faith did her best "cheerleader" moves as daddy opened his card...

This card has some special significance. When I saw this idea on  Pinterest, I knew I had to do it (except I added my own flair having one end be Faith's hand and one end being my hand...) When Jeff and I were dating/engaged (because it all happened so fast and both are simultaneous...) he started making this sweet gesture as I would walk back to my apartment or when I would drop him off places. He would tell me he loved me quietly and give me a kiss, and then hold out his arms as I walked (or drove) away and get on his tip toes and shout "THIIIIIIIS MUCH!" as loud as he could. It would melt my heart every time, and when he does it every now and again, it still does! 

We made an imprint of Faith's hand out of salt dough as well. I was a little bummed because when I put it into hiding it was perfect, but when I pulled it out of hiding to put on the finishing touches, there was a HUGE crack through the middle. The look on her face almost says, "Yo, mom!What happened, it was perfect when I made it!" I found out that she is VERY patient with craft projects and enjoys them quite a bit. It only took us two attempts to get the "perfect" handprint. The first one would have been perfect if she hadn't decided to use her other hand to poke and pull at the dough while I was making it.    Jeff still liked it because Faith had helped make it, so I guess that is all that matters!
Jeff's Father's Day Breakfast (that would have been in bed had we not found our creepy crawly friend...) I made him his favorite German Pancakes, Buttermilk syrup (for those of you that have never had it, it almost tastes like caramel) scrambled eggs with pepperjack cheese melted into them, and his favorite Jimmy Dean Maple sausage.

The full table set up, complete with Donald Duck orange juice to be consumed out of "fancy" glasses...

The whole complete set up...with a child to beg for food that she isn't big enough to have yet...Sorry Boo Boo! You'll get to share Father's Day breakfast next year. :)
We went to sacrament and I conducted the Ward Choir...and we realized that we didn't have a pacifier for Faith...we usually sit in the foyer during Sunday School so Faith can get a little nap in during the day, but without the pacifier this would be an impossible feat...I also couldn't breathe and was enjoying the feeling of Miss Cupcake kicking me very hard in the ribs, and Jeff was tired...we opted to go home and take a family nap instead of staying for all of church...we were glad we did. Faith was out like a light when we got home and didn't even wake up when Jeff pulled her out of the car seat.... we hate and love Sundays in our house-mostly because our church time conflicts with naptime, but know we're not alone in this.  The Little Diva slept for most of the afternoon, which gave Jeff time to call his parents and talk to his dad while I made Macaroni and Cheese for lunch and gave us some time to snuggle a bit.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching "the Big Bang Theory" (Jeff got seasons 1-4 for me for Mother's Day). Around 3, I started our coup de grats for the day...RIBS!

I was a little nervous that they would turn out, as we don't have an outdoor grill, but we do have a grill pan...I made it work though and Jeff was SUPER thrilled.

We had ribs, corn on the cob, salad, and mashed potatoes for dinner...Jeff said the ribs were as good as the ribs he would order at his favorite barbecue place on the planet (Bubba's for all you Idaho/Wyoming peeps that have one close).

I, unfortunately, didn't get any pictures of dinner, as it was eaten rather rapidly.

All I can say is that I hope my husband had an awesome first "official" Father's Day (I was pregnant last year and so we celebrated a bit...but he didn't want a big hoorah because it wasn't official yet.)  I tried my best to make the day as easy as possible for him. I had every intention of him not having to lift a finger when it came to the Little Diva, but, true to his awesome fatherly form, he was insistent that he help saying, "I love that little girl! I wouldn't let you keep me from helping no matter how hard you try!"

As my husband is a reader of my blog all I have to say is this:

Thank you so much for all you do for us and for all your support and love. I am so lucky to have a partner like you to raise my children with. You, dear sir, have surpassed all of my expectations when it comes to being a husband and father and every day I pray and thank Heavenly Father for blessing me with YOU as my eternal companion.  I am oh so glad that my roommate that you were initially chasing didn't come home that fateful Sunday night when I became twitterpated with you...and that you decided that it would be worth a try to chase me instead.  I'm so glad that you bought an engagement ring on a whim when you were close to a jewelry store one day...and I'm so glad that you caught me off guard and proposed when I wasn't even expecting you to. Every day with you is an adventure Mr. Nielson, and I'm glad that I get to be the one along for the ride. I love you so much.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cafe Rio Pork and 4 more weeks of meals

Well...another shopping trip came and went. This month, I went with fewer crock pot options as we just weren't impressed with many of the recipes that I happened to choose, which ended with lots of leftovers sitting in the fridge and going bad- which in our house is just as good as wasted money.  I'm hoping that being a little more picky this month will pay off.  I still have some crock pot goodness that I am excited to try...but I will say that this month has started off with a bang!

Here is the list of 28 meals (that's 4 weeks worth of dinners) for you to peruse (unless otherwise noted, you can find them pinned to my Yummy Stuff board on Pinterest, or just look it up in the search field there to find the recipe for yourself!)

I am going to highlight the meals we've had so far with my husband's opinion. He loves that I can cook, and he loves it even more when he couldn't think of anything he'd like me to do differently with the recipe next time. Its very rewarding living with an amateur food critic. I love cooking and knowing that he will give me feedback to make me better!

I will actually be nice and give you the links for the highlighted meals, with the exception of my Cafe Rio Copycat.  I will type the recipe below because I mixed about 4 recipes to get the recipe that I wanted...I love Cafe Rio, but as my husband isn't a huge fan of Mexican food I haven't had a chance to eat there in a while (he has to be in the mood.) To be honest, I don't think he's ever eaten there, but he was super impressed with tonight's endeavor and would eat/devour this meal again in a heartbeat. He was super excited that there were actually leftovers for him to take for lunch tomorrow. The last few meals that I've cooked, I've cut the recipe in half thinking that I didn't want to have a ton left over if it didn't turn out well...he was a sad panda after two nights of finishing off what was left in the pan and realizing that there was nothing for him to take to work and brag about...  Friends that love Cafe Rio- this recipe is the closest that I've ever tasted when it comes to being a fact, I'd almost wager to say that its close to darn near perfect in mimicking Cafe Rio...but as its been a while since I've eaten there, you'll have to try it yourselves and be the judges! I'm also including my Cafe Rio Ranch recipe and my Minute Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice. I will be honest and say we just opened a can of pinto beans and let them boil over the stove... but if my husband is impressed, than I think it will impress anyone.  I took half of my efforts over to a gal in my ward that just had a baby and her 2 (or is he 3??) year old son actually ate 2 burritos ALL GONE and then had the dessert I'd made (Apple Streusel). It was also nice to get an outsider's opinion. She said her family loved it!

 4 weeks of meals-

1. Summer vegetable crepes- pinterest
2.Zuchinni Linguine
3.sweet potato and cauliflower soup
4.Bacon and Tomato Spaghetti
5. Cajun Chicken Pasta (Pioneer Woman)
6.PW's Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce (Pioneer Woman/Pinterest) (delicious 5 stars!!!!!)
7.Skinny Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
8.Steakhouse Cheeseburgers
9.Lightened Up Broccoli Cheese and Potato Soup
10. Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
11. Pasta Presto (2012 Spring Summer Meal Planning/Pinterest)
12. Grilled Veggie Sandwiches (same as 11)
13.Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad(pinterest)
14. Breakfast Taquitos (Our Best Bites Freezer Meals)
15. Beef with Peppers Stir Fry (Pinterest/Pioneer Woman) (My husband thought it was better than Panda Express...which is saying something
16. Curried Chicken Pasta Salad (Pinterest)
17. Tortilla Rollups (pinterest)
18. Slow Cooker BBQ ranch Chicken (pinterest)
19.Slow cooker Breakfast Casserole
20.Slow Cooker Sweet Salsa Chicken
21.Slow Cooker Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa Burritos/salad (My husband said it was better than anything he'd ever had in a Mexican Restaurant)
22.Slow Cooker Broccoli Beef (Pinterest)
23.Baby Back Ribs (Our Best Bites Freezer Meals Cookbook)
24.Slow Cooker Chow Mein Casserole
26.Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes (Pinterest)
27.Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas (pinterest)
28.Crock Pot Red beans and rice (pinterest)

Both of the recipes below are by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond! Believe me when I say, she won't steer you wrong when it comes to food. She has a very discerning husband like mine who knows what he wants and likes! I have never found a bad recipe on her website, EVER!

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce can be found HERE This dish is a Meatless/Vegetarian DELIGHT! Its also SUPER easy to throw together.  My substitution was to use half and half in place of the heavy cream to make it a little lighter.  I only used 2/3 a cup instead of a full cup and it was PLENTY creamy.  I make my own freezer spaghetti sauce...and I recommend using the spaghetti sauce instead of just the canned tomato sauce. I barely had to add any sugar to mine to make it satisfactory and it had SO MUCH FLAVOR compared to what I imagine it would taste like with just plain tomato sauce.  I also didn't add any onion as my homemade pasta sauce already had onion in it. We tossed it with frozen spinach instead of basil. I just threw it in the sauce and let it heat through before throwing the sauce over the noodles. It was AMAZING!!!!

Beef with Peppers Stir Fry is HERE . The only substitutions I made were to use Sesame Oil instead of Vegetable oil to fry everything, and instead of using the rice/cellophane noodles. we ate our stir fry over a bed of white rice.  I also didn't pour any marinating sauce over the beef while the veggies and beef were simmering together. I found that what was sticking to the beef was PLENTY...but if you like saucy goodness, go for it! We also didn't sprinkle any red chili pepper flakes over the top or dress it up with cilantro...*Note- the Chili Paste is SUPER important to this recipe. I've been seeing more and more recipes pop up that use it, its well worth the $3-4 investment to have some in your home. I actually used more than the recipe called for because I know my husband's affinity for a little extra spice with his sweetness. This dish is a sweet and spicy delight!, now for the pinnacle of our blog- I give you MY very own Cafe Rio Copycat List! I will say that the pork is a little more work than a lot of the recipes out there make it seem, but its well worth it! 

Cafe Rio Barbacoa Pork:

3-4 lbs pork roast (my husband bought a shoulder roast with the bone in...I don't know how much of a difference it makes really, but most chefs will tell you that cooking meat with the bone adds a dimension of flavor...its also cheaper...try it. Its not hard to separate the bone, believe me!)

1 can tomato sauce

2 cups Coca Cola (it has to be Coca Cola, and it CAN'T be diet!)

1 cup sugar

1 can green chilis

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp Cumin

In the morning (or the night before) put your roast in the crock pot with a little bit of water over it. Salt and pepper it plentifully. If you have a shoulder roast (like I did) put it in the crock pot with the slab of fat on the top. This way, the fat will drip down into the meat, adding flavor. The salt will help to break the fat down.  Let the roast cook for on low for 8 hours.  Remove it from the crock pot and shred it. Make sure the crock pot is free of all the water that the roast was cooking in. You won't need it. If you like, you can keep it for the stock for another recipe (which is what I was wishing I'd done after I thought about it...)  In a food processor or blender, mix all the rest of the ingredients but the Coke.  Pour this over the shredded meat in the crock pot and then pour the Coke in and stir lightly.  Taste it to see if you want to add any more salt (we didn't need any.) and cook on low for 3-4 hours more so that the meat becomes infused with the sauce...

Its that simple...then you serve it as a burrito or as a Cafe Rio salad with beans and Cilantro Lime Rice...

Minute Cilantro Lime Rice (serves 4-6)

2 Cups Minute or Instant Rice
2 c water
2 Chicken Boullion Cubes (or instead of water you can use 2 cups Chicken stock, just be prepared to add salt)
2 TBS minced cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp Cumin
2-3 TBS lime juice 

Boil the water and boullion cubes together. Add the cilantro and cumin and then the rice. Cook as directed on the package (mine just has you stir in the rice, remove it from the heat and wait for 5 minutes) Stir in the lime juice just before you serve...add more if you feel like you need the limey goodness!

And of course- no Cafe Rio burrito or Salad would be complete without that Rio Ranch!

1 package Ranch Dressing Mix (note- I used a generic Ranch Dip mix that I bought at the store for $ worked just as well as the Ranch packet would have and it was MUCH cheaper)
1 cup buttermilk or half and half
1 1/2 cups mayo
1/4 cup salsa verde (that's the GREEN salsa)
1 small roma tomato diced
1/2- 1 cup cilantro
1-2 tsp Garlic powder
3 TBS lime juice

Combine ingredients in food processor or blender (if you're using a blender, make sure you dice up the cilantro first! Otherwise you will have not so pleasant chunks) and store in the fridge. Don't worry if its a little thin at first. It will thicken as it sets up. You don't want it too thick anyway because then its easier to drizzle over the top of your salad or burrito.

Bon appetit darlings! I hope this cures some cravings that friends that live away from a Cafe Rio have been having! I promise that as I make meals, I will be sure to post about the ones that we've really enjoyed along with any substitutions or changes that I made. :)

Hugs and loves until next time. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Art of Bedrest


We got to spend an interesting day at the hospital on Thursday. I was having pains that felt like contractions, but they weren't long enough to be termed "contractions" and, because they weren't long enough, they couldn't get them on the monitors. When I had them, it would just look like fetal movement...but fetal movement at regular intervals...

Since they checked to see if the pains were causing any dilation, they put me on full bedrest for 3-4 days and then partial bedrest until my doctor's appointment on July 3...

I pretty much SUCK at bedrest...

On Friday I got an email saying that there was a form that needed to be mailed THAT DAY...well, the Little Diva was taking a nap, so I hurried and put my shoes on and waddled out the door and down the street to the mailbox...of course, I was feeling it when I came back...but, my husband wouldn't have been home until AFTER the mailman had already come and gone- we mammas do what we have to do to keep our house working...

Saturday, Jeff had to go take his ISCET Certification test (International Society of Certified Electronic Technicians for those of you wondering)...and the Little Diva had needed to take a bath since Friday...Jeff, being the wonderful husband that he is, has taken over bathing duties because I have a hard time bending over the bathtub to bathe our little princess...well, he didn't have time and, since she'd needed a bath since Thursday night, I couldn't handle it anymore.  I bathed her, stripped our cloth diapers because the liners weren't absorbing much of anything for some reason (the stripping worked beautifully and we are back to fully functioning cloth diapers by the way- YAY!) and tried to clean the living room...Let's just say that Jeff wasn't very happy with me when he got home...

We also had a visit from my Aunt and her family on Saturday. It was wonderful to see family. They drove down from St. George to do some birthday celebration stuff for my Aunt. :) Fortunately, while they were here I was just able to sit, relax, and enjoy their visit.

Sunday was a gray area...I probably technically should have opted to take one more day of full bed rest, but when they discharged me they told me to go with how I was feeling when it came to staying down or being up by I went to church and ran ward choir practice later that night...and boy have I been paying for it since...Church was NOT a pleasant experience at all.  I had some sweet sisters in the relief society (and even a few that work in primary) offer to take my baby so I could go lay down, but I didn't want to leave the Relief Society high and dry without a chorister for the closing I soldiered through...

Today we tried to get our licenses switched to Nevada licenses and get the car registered...that didn't go so well either. Fortunately, I didn't have to stand in a long line for very long...but after processing my paper work the sweet lady that was helping us told me that she couldn't issue me a Nevada license because I hadn't changed my name on my social security card yet...grrrr (not towards her, towards the system- she was totally nice and even offered to let us come back to her window without having to wait for a number if we managed to get the rest of the paperwork done that we needed done today.) Jeff got his license with no problems...then we tried to register the car and the dealership for some odd reason didn't give us all the paperwork we needed so that we could....another GRRR! The lady was nice enough to let us relinquish our Idaho plates for good old Sophie so that we could call our insurance company and have her taken off the policy before our payment went through- so I guess 2 things out of 4 isn't too shabby for a trip to the DMV...

We then went grocery shopping...which is when I started going down hill. I was feeling pretty good at the beginning of the trip, but towards the end I was a dizzy, contracting but not contracting (because they aren't long enough to be contractions) mess...I am so blessed to have an awesome husband who carted all the groceries up the stairs from the garage because I honestly don't think I can stand up right now without falling over...

Long story short- as I said before- I SUCK at bedrest.

Oh well, I will try harder tomorrow...

(the jury is still out about whether or not we will brave a trek to the social security office today to get my paperwork done to change my card over...who knows...)

So- that's my boring life in a nutshell. Aren't you so glad you chose to read this blog?

Anyone out there with good pointers for not going crazy while resting? I just can't seem to make myself do it. There is just too much that needs to be done!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Faith at 7 months

Because everyone needs a daily dose of cuteness...and because I need to write things down before I forget them, Here is a little look at the life of the Little Diva at the ripe old age of 7 months (in cheesy photo montage form...)
She is definitely a daddy's girl. Daddy is pretty much the coolest person alive, and her best friend. She always gets mad when he leaves the room, or when he comes home from work and doesn't give her a great big hug and kiss.  I am not ashamed to admit that their sweet interactions often make me cry.  Jeff is such a great dad and Faith makes sure to reward him for his awesomeness with plenty of smiles and giggles.

She LOVES to sit up in her activity chair and walker. Those toys seem to be her favorite. Mom knows that if she needs to get anything done that will take longer than a few minutes all she has to do is put Faith into her chair and she will be a happy camper for 10-20 minutes.  The big smile tells it all...this girl loves to bend, twist and move toys to make noises and to see what they will do. She is learning fast how to make her toys do what she wants them to do.  She also loves to try to type on Mommy and Daddy's computer...there have been many a blog where Mommy has left her computer unattended on the floor, only to come back and find that Faith has twisted her way around to add her own spin on life in the Nielson household...

This girl loves to swim! Here she is with Daddy on Memorial Day. Our Plans to go to Boulder Beach at Lake Mead were foiled when we noticed that traffic was backed up on the highway all the way to Boulder we opted for a day in the pool at home.

"Esther Williams, eat your heart out!" Daddy and mommy have to be pretty careful when we go swimming because, if she had her way, she would try to paddle off on her own. She loves to kick and splash in the water- she especially thinks its funny when she splashes herself in the face accidentally. She thinks its even more funny when she splashes someone else.

She has a full head of practically untameable curly hair! When mommy doesn't style it with piggy tails, or put some type of product in it, this is what it ends up looking like! Its starting to get long enough that mommy can do braids and other fun things, as long as she is willing to sit still and cooperate long enough. 

You rarely see her without a smile and her pacifier. She isn't crawling yet, but seems to be getting closer. She does, however, like to pull herself up to standing position and, if she is going to be on the floor, prefers her belly to her back because she can reach her toys more easily.

She LOVES her solid foods.  In fact, she gets mad because she can't eat what mommy and daddy are eating.  She tries to charm food off of our plates, but unfortunately, she isn't so great at "gumming" foods yet, so she has to stick to the homemade baby food that mommy makes...but mommy tries to make it interesting.  She loves green beans with a little butter and salt, and she enjoys a little bit of macaroni and cheese (pureed very well in the Baby Bullet) from time to time.

She is very smart...her pacifier has become her favorite teething  "toy". She will chew on the back of it, or stick her thumbs and fingers into the back so she can make it harder to chew on.  She's been a bit of a teething monster lately, but  Mommy reminds herself that it could be much worse than it is. For the most part, she is always cheerful and rarely complains.
She LOVES her feet. She twists and contorts her body in very interesting ways and watching her try to "dance" while lying on her belly is a treat.  She loves music and stops everything if she hears someone singing.  She is instantly quiet and smiles big when someone is performing for her.  She is the BEST audience when mommy is in the mood to practice one of her arias, that is for sure!  She loves the piano and will sit for hours playing her own little ditties if you'd let her. Her favorite instrument is still the cello- in fact, she plays the keyboard the most when its set to sound like a cello.
Another fun fact: Her favorite movie is The Little Rascals...she always giggles when she hears Bug Hall (the actor who plays Alfalfa) singing "You are so Beautiful to Me" and "All I need is the Air that I Breathe (and to Love You)". She also thinks that the scene where Porky and the other "Heman Woman Haters" play tricks at Darla and Alfalfa's picnic is the funniest thing ever (she giggles the whole way through!)

She draws a crowd everywhere she goes.  Every time we go shopping or out on the town random people will play with her and she smiles. We are often told how beautiful and amazingly friendly she is.  Mom has even had people ask if she is a baby model...I guess she models for me, does that count? She smiles at everyone and definitely brightens the day of anyone being grumpy.  If we chance to meet a cranky sales associate, all it takes is Faith flashing her signature charming smile and they are instantly sweeter and kinder.  I don't think this girl is going to have a hard time making friends when she gets older...She is also a favorite for many children at church. She has a lot of friends and she doesn't even realize it yet.  

So, there you have it...a little bit about our Little Diva.  Let us know if you need a daily dose of cute, we are always happy to oblige!

Hugs and Loves until next time!