Monday, October 27, 2014

Recipe: Easy Crock Pot Chicken Pasta

A few weeks ago I came across this recipe on Facebook.  It looked easy and tasty.  Plus, I love my crockpot.  I gave it a shot and both Mike and I really liked it.  It reminded me a lot of tuna noodle casserole, but with chicken and cream of chicken soup.

For an easy switch up, I might try cream of mushroom soup or try adding peas to it.

I can't wait to try this one again!

Easy Crockpot Chicken Pasta


4 chicken breasts
1 packet ranch dressing mix
4oz cubed cream cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups penne pasta
Bacon pieces (if desired)
Shredded parmesan cheese (if desired)


Put chicken in crockpot.  Pour soup over chicken and then sprinkle with ranch dressing mix.  No need to stir.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  15 minutes before done, add cream cheese.  Do not stir.  Cover and continue cooking until cheese softens and melts, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove chicken.  Add pasta to sauce and stir.  Cover and turn off.  Shred chicken with a fork or cut into small pieces (I shredded it).  Add to crockpot and stir.  Serve.  Sprinkle with bacon pieces or parmesan cheese if desired

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Year!

It’s hard to believe that Ben is one year old already.  The year has gone so quickly, yet it feels like just yesterday we brought him home.  It’s also easy to say that the tough times felt like they lingered on while the good times zoomed by. 

Ben has started to become his own little person with a distinct personality.  He’s funny and goofy and likes to laugh (and we like to hear him laugh).  He knows how to test his boundries and will often look back to see if mom or dad notice that he’s getting into mischief.  He can be a drama queen (king?) especially when he gets hurt in the slightest or you take away a cord or other strangulation hazard he so loves to play with!  He hates taking medicine or getting his nose wiped.  Occasionally he will hold still long enough to get his diaper changed.  He doesn’t like to hold still for longer than 20 seconds.  He will not quietly sit in anyone’s lap.  Instead, he climbs in and out of it 15 times before he decides he’d rather do something else; like play with Gilbert’s toys instead of his own.  He loves to eat and makes ‘happy food noises’ the whole time.  He's definitely more daddy's sidekick than a momma's boy.  I think it's because daddy can juggle and has a bigger lap.  But, I'm fine with that.

One Year Stats:

Height: 32.25" (99th percentile)
Weight: 23lb 8.5oz (80th percentile)
Head Circumference: 18" (35th percentile)
Shoe size: 5.5
Words we think he says: Daddy, doggy, hello
Teeth: Six.  Four upper, two lower
Growing out of size 12 month clothes, but 18 month pants are still quite long.
Favorite Foods: peas, raspberries, cheese, chicken, scrambled eggs
Weaned off of all bottles/formula during the day.  This went surprisingly well.   We will soon be eliminating the bedtime formula bottle.
Not walking on his own but loves zooming around with the walker and crawling like a mad man. 
Favorite Toys: walker, fishy, trucks
Security item: thumb, burp cloth
Sleeps: very well; usually 11 hours at night and two 1.5-2 hour naps during the day
Illnesses to date: a few minor colds, Hand, Foot, Mouth, and pink eye last week.
Daycare friends: Henry 1, Henry 2, Vivian, AJ, Devica, Gaby, Jaxson (they go on opposite days but I always find them together when I pick Ben up on a day when one of them is there on an 'off day').
Enjoys going for walks/runs, swinging and sliding at the park, sitting in and getting pulled around in a laundry basket, eating, throwing food to Gilbert, ‘talking’/screaming, throwing toys.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Favorite Baby Items

I have now been a mother for a year.  A whole year!  It seems like just yesterday that I brought a new baby home and looked at my husband with a ‘now what?’ look.    Learning to care for a baby definitely has a learning curve.  If only they could talk and tell you what they wanted/needed.  In the hopes of making my son happy, I bought many baby products.  Some of them were helpful and some of them were not.  Every baby is different and this is a list I compiled of items that worked for us.

What we loved:

Floor gym:  This was used a lot in the early days when all he did was lay around.  It gave me a place to put him and I felt like he was entertained.  He enjoyed it more when he could kick and bat at the toys.

Bouncer:  We borrowed this and I’m so glad we did.  He sat in there a lot!  He took a lot of naps in it as well!

Sophie the Giraffe:  This was a gift.  I’m not sure that I would have spent the money on it myself, but my son seemed to like it a lot.  It also came with a stuffed Sophie rattle.  That was one of the first toys he seemed to notice and we dubbed it his girlfriend.

Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit:  In desperation to get him to take naps we bought this.  I couldn’t get him into his crib without his arms flailing and waking him up and this was supposed to help.  I wouldn’t say it was ‘magic’ and really can only say that I liked it.  My husband liked to use this a lot though.

Halo Sleep Sacks:  I’m not sure what made me buy the first one, but we now have three and use them every night and for every nap. They are a nice lightweight cotton and worked well for the summer months (with the AC on).  I only wish they made some with sleeves so I don't have to make sure he wears long sleeved PJ's during cooler weather.

Baby Breeza Formula Pro:  See my review of this here.  We really made use of this baby!  We spent a week away and had to mix formula by hand.  Though not terrible, making it with the formula maker was nice.  Especially for those nighttime feedings or when he wanted to eat NOW.  I am looking forward to getting this off of my counter top though!

Nose Frida:  This snot sucker looks gross, but it works!  My son doesn’t really like it but it has to help him breathe better to get all that snot out.  I can’t wait for him to learn to blow his nose!

Puj Tub – This was a gift from our registry.  We used this sink insert for the first 3-4 months, I think.  I really liked it.  I liked that it unfolded flat to dry.  We just hung in on the back of the bathroom door.

Chicco Infant Carrier – No complaints about this.  Easy to use, easy to install.  Still, I couldn’t wait to get a convertible seat because he was just too heavy to be carrying around in there!

BOB Revolution Stroller – I received this as  a birthday gift and love it.  I’m tempted to use it as a permanent stroller because it drives so smoothly and is so easy to steer.  I dislike that you need to buy the snack tray and parent tray separately though.  And the storage underneath isn’t as big as the other stroller.  I think it’s bigger and heavier than the other stroller, but not by much or much that I really notice.  Ultimately, the smooth ride and maneuverability make up for the downsides.

Green Sprouts Bibs:  Between 3-6 months this boy DROOLED.  I was looking desperately for bibs that caught drool and protected his clothes.  Ones that came in various colors to match his outfits too (I like things to match).  These were pricey, but I loved them.  So much that I went for another walk to find one that we had dropped on a previous walk (never did find it).

Small steamer:  I use this all the time to heat up/cook small amounts of veggies/fruits.

Fruit of the Loom socks:  These were recommended by a friend to stay on chubby feet.  They did…until he learned to take them off!

Humidifier/Sound machine:  We received this as a gift.  I like that it’s two items in one.  We use the sound machine all the time and the humidifier in the winter or when he has a cold/seems stuffed up.

Triple Paste:  After a bad bought of diaper rash, this was the one cream that worked.  We’re so paranoid of that bad of a rash happening again that we still use it at night or when his butt seems red.

Aquaphor:  This was recommended by his pediatrician (along with some hydro cortisone) to help his minor eczema. We use it after every bath or on dry spots.  I like it for myself too!

Next installment?  Items we didn't like or didn't use much of.