Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicken and Rice Casserole

This is one of my FAVORITE comfort type family meals.  We have been making it in our family my entire life.  It is not the most healthy (although you could do much worse), however it is simple, and wonderful to enjoy.  Also it reheats easily for fantastic leftovers, and you can easily adjust for more people if you ever need to feed a crowd.  It isn't the "prettiest" dish, but it tastes WAY better than it looks!  The full recipe and directions are at the very bottom for those who like to copy and paste :).  I do ask that if you use this recipe you would link back to me.  Thanks so much and enjoy!

Here is what you need: 1 can of Campbell's cream of chicken, 1 can of Campbell's cream of celery, 1 can of Campbell's cream of mushroom, 1 cup of rice, 6-8 frozen chicken breasts or 12-16 frozen tenders, a stick of butter, and one can of milk (not pictured)

 It is very easy to make simply empty the three cans into a 9 x 13 (or larger) pan.  Ignore that it doesn't look very good at all, it gets better I promise!

Then use one of the empty cans, fill it with milk, and add it to your pan.

Then mix, and evenly spread this mixture in the pan.  Then sprinkle 1 cup of rice evenly over the mixture.

 You then use a spatula to gently push the rice into the soup mixture.  (I always add a bit of extra rice, but don't add too much or it will be dry)

Then take a stick of melted butter, and coat your frozen chicken.  This helps the chicken brown, when it is done.

Simply place the chicken on top of your soup & rice mixture, in any manner you see fit.  Make sure that they do not overlap for even cooking.

You can add more or less chicken depending on how many you are serving or how much leftovers you would like.

Then place it in the oven at 300 F for 2 hours.  Until it is golden brown around the edges and bubbly. I always take a meat thermometer and to make sure the chicken is fully cooked.

Allow it to cool, then serve and enjoy!

As promised for you copy and paste people here is the full recipe and ingredients.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
1 can of Campbell's cream of chicken
1 can of Campbell's cream of celery
1 can of Campbell's cream of mushroom
1 cup of rice
6-8 frozen chicken breasts or 12-16 frozen tenders
one can of milk
one stick of butter (melted)

Preheat oven to 300
Combine soup cans, and milk in to 9 x 13 pan.
Evenly pour rice over soup mixture in pan and gently push into mixture.
Coat frozen chicken in butter and place evenly on top of soup & rice mixture
Place in oven for 2 hours
Serve and enjoy!

Hope that you all enjoy this recipe, it is a family favorite that I grew up on.



PS I love to PARTY!  Blog link party that is, check out where I party by clicking here and join the fun.  Also, if you know of another great party, please share it with me so I can join the fun there too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Home Birth Story: Delivering

I left you in part one of my Home Birth Story with my water breaking and things getting way more intense.

Intense is not even the right word.  After my water broke, it allowed (though really felt like it forced) the baby's head to start emerging.  There is no way to describe this pressure to someone who has never had a natural birth.  It was so intense, I actually screamed.  I am not a screamer in general.  I have a rather high pain tolerance, and I never thought that I would be during labor/birth.  However I had no other way to express the intensity of what was happening.  My midwife and her assistant encouraged me to use that "energy" I was letting escape from my mouth towards pushing out the baby.  I started pushing.  I felt like I couldn't, but I knew that I could and had to.  I ended up hanging on the tub, on my knees for delivery.  Soon my baby's head emerged and with another push, the rest of her slid out.  (No, there are no pictures of this.  Yes, I have them.  No, I am not posting these VERY personal and somewhat graphic pictures on my blog.)

It was nothing sort of amazing.  The relief from the pressure when she came out, the joy of birthing a child.  With in 30 seconds of her entering the world, the midwife had done a quick check, she started crying, I positioned myself and was holding my daughter.

The rest of what was needed to be done to her was done while she was on my chest.  Her APGAR scores were 8 and then 10.  She was perfect.  A healthy beautiful baby girl.  My husband got to cut the ambilical cord awhile later, while she was still on my chest.

Then we got to hang out together and bond for a bit.

 I then passed her off to my hubby to bond, so that he could hold his new baby girl.  While I delivered the placenta, then I got up and got to rest in bed for awhile and nurse her.  About an hour after I had her, I had showered, was resting in my bed, cuddling with my new baby girl.  Daddy got some good cuddle time in too!

We also did the new baby check, where we got to see her weight and make sure everything was good.  This is hubby holding up the portable newborn scale my midwife carries with her to weigh the new babies.  Pretty cool!
We invited family over about 3 hours after she was born, to meet her and hang out.  I was glad to have family, but since I had just given birth and only slept two hours the night before I was understandably exhausted.  I napped on and off, and enjoyed my family. 

This experience was so different than my last birthing experience.  It was amazing.  Honestly, after birth was so nice, I fell asleep and my midwife waited to do things until I was ready.  I wasn't woken up to get prodded unnecessarily. It was so peaceful, relaxing and wonderful.  Well as peaceful, relaxing and wonderful as a home birth can be.  Honestly, should we have any more kids, I would do a home birth again in a heart beat.  It was an absolutely amazing experience, one of the best of my life.  I would recommend it over a hospital for anyone who has a low risk pregnancy.  That being said, I am very open to questions about this, and would love to share more with you about this experience.  Please feel free to comment and ask questions, I will be as open as possible.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Home Birth Story: The Labor

I am excited to finally share with you, my amazing home birth experience with you. If you want to know why I choose a home birth, see this post here.

I was due 5/31/12, I was convinced I would have a "May baby", which would space out our birthday's and make planing birthday parties in the future easier.  The whole week leading up to my due date, I would get fairly regular contractions, which would eventually, slow down or stop.  Every time I would get my hopes up that "this was it!"  I even called my midwife one night, the day after my due date to tell her this may be it (just so she would have a heads up).  Alas, they stopped shortly after.  It was vary annoying.

It was now Wednesday, I was 6 days late and none too happy about it.  My fabulous sister-in-law was graduating from high school, and I knew there was no way that I could go.  We felt it out and decided that since it was just 2 hours away, I would send my hubby and toddler to surprise her.  She really wanted both of them there and was understandably upset about the fact that it may not happen.  I would spend the afternoon/evening with my parent's "just in case" anything were to happen.

All went well and Matt and the little man were able to attend the graduation and were heading home.  I was slightly bummed I hadn't gone into labor as I for SURE thought the minute my husband left our area, my water would break.  Alas, I was still pregnant and there was no end in sight.  By the time my hubby got back, picked me up from my parents and we got home and into bed it was 11:30 or 12.

At about 2am, I woke up obviously in labor.  The contractions had woken me up out of a dead sleep, and I knew that this was it.  I waited 30 minutes to make sure and then told my hubby to call the midwife!  He also had some set up to do, as our dining room table needed to be moved and the birthing tub needed to be placed there.  He called the midwife to find out she was on another call!  She was able to leave that one as it was a hospital transfer and she was not delivering that baby.  My fabulous midwife Quincy showed up soon followed by her assistant Karen.  They checked everything out, set up and let me labor.

This was a wonderful experience.  I was able to sit, lay, stand, walk and do whatever I wanted.  It was hard and exhausting, don't get me wrong.  Yet I wasn't strapped to the bed like I had be in the past.  We called our families around 6am to let them know that I was in labor.  My mom stopped by on her way to work.  My mid wife told her that she thought it would be awhile, as my contractions were still 4ish minutes apart.  My Dad came to pick up our toddler around 6:30/7 to hand out with him and then take him to daycare at 8 am.  My labor really started to pick up and just after 7am I decided it was time to get into the tub to relax and try and relieve some of the labor pain.

The water brought on a lot of relief.  Well about as much as you can expect when you are in labor.  Then all of the sudden, I felt like I couldn't do this anymore.  I could deal with being pregnant forever, because there was no way I was able to handle the pain.  I started regretting my decision to have a home birth without drugs.  I must have been insane!  As this feeling was starting to overcome me, and I was telling my husband and the midwife, I didn't know how much longer I could labor, my water broke, and things got way more intense.

Part 2, The Delivery is coming soon, so stay tuned!



Monday, July 23, 2012

Menu Monday

Well after 6 weeks of not having my own kitchen, I finally have a functional one!  Which means that I can cook!!!  Here is what we are planing to eat this week.

Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs

Tuesday: Cranberry Chicken and Rice a Roni

Wendesday: White shells and Cheddar

Thursday: Cheese Canopies

Friday: BBQ pork and cornbread

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday: Chicken and Rice

This is also my first week back from my maternity leave.  So things may not happen like they are supposed to.  I hope you all have a fabulous week!



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creating a legacy in your home

Last weekend we celebrated my fabulous grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary.  I can hardly imagine 60 years of marriage, but I'm excited to try.  Through out the weekend, one thing really struck me.  My grandparent's have left an incredible legacy for us, one that I hope I can continue for my kids and even to their own kids.

Here are some wonderful things that they have passed down to us grandkids (some fun some serious):

I don't know of any families where grandparents can say that not only are all of their children (and kid's spouses) walking with Jesus, but so are every single one of their grandkids!  I find that truly amazing, and such a blessing to be a part of.

A love of ice cream
Growing up, a visit to grandma and grandpa's meant one thing to me.  Homemade ice cream.  Not just homemake, but HAND CRANKED.  We all as kids got to sit on the maker and help crank the ice cream, then lick the dasher and enjoy it!  DQ runs are a must as well.

I can not tell you, nor could pictures convey, the fun that we have as a family.  It is amazing to experience and just have fun together.  We always schedule time for fun when we get together.  In the picture below, we rented a 15 passenger van (just enough seats for all of us) and drove around it all week when we were together celebrating Christmas one year.  We even put lights on it, SO FUN!

Family History
My grandma has been amazing at finding our family tree, keeping pictures, and even typing her mothers diary.  We today have a copy of my great grandma's diary from the 1930's on.  She and her sister's took it and typed it out, added pictures, and made an amazing family history book from it.  It is so amazing to see how my grandma grew up and what the world was like then.

We always do something to create family traditions (like homemade ice cream), and find a way to keep them.  One of our favorite things, was getting measured every time we were at grandma's.  Her pantry door has all of the grandkids measured each time we came to visit.  My sweet boy even got measured this time.

I am hoping to build a home that is happy, full of life and memories.  I want to continue the legacy that my grandparents have built and pass it on to my kids and eventually grandkids.  As my grandpa said (paraphrasing here), "It's the little things in life that become big things, you just don't know it until later."

Here is to the little things that we do in our homes and with our families each and every day that will build lasting memories and a legacy for our kids.



Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm back!

Well that was an unexpected break, my sincerest apologies!

I am however back and ready to dive in.  The last 6 weeks of my life have been the craziest by far.  I went from having a baby, to packing up our apartment, to living with my parents while closing and fixing up our new home, to moving into our new home, to spending the week of the 4th with hubby's family to flying to Chicago (toddler and infant in tow) to celebrate my grandparent's 60th.  We just returned and still have to deal with unpacking from the trip and unpacking our house!  If you lost count, we have been in 5 location in the last 6 weeks, our stuff is the most unorganized it has ever been, as we have rummaged through boxes or suitcases to grab what we need.  I am however officially back, and will make it though this with a good helping of coffee.  I return to work on Sunday as my 6 week maternity leave is over and I will be able to get back into my routine and some sort of new order with two kids, working and a new home.

Here are some fun pictures I wanted to share with you from the last few weeks of our fun/adventures.

 We had great 4th!

Complete with our sweet boy's 1st Dodger game and Dodger dog!

Our 1st plane ride!

Loving on baby sister!

Our entire family (ok we are missing my hubby and brother) celebrating grandparent's 60th!



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Sneak Peak At Our New Home Part 3

Potential is the word we are using right now.  I just want you all to remember that, because these photos are not so glamorous.  This home is a fixer-uper, and 50 years old.

Here is our laundry room.  For this gal to go from having to do laundry at mom and dad's or a laundry mat every week to not only having her own machine but a whole room for them is way awesome!

It is also the "utility room" so it has the water heater in it.

This is the wall you look into when you come in the room, the previous owners left all this "stuff" for us.

It even has window, but I have HUGE plans for this place, it needs some major work, but I have my own washer and dryer (even if they are super old!).

We also have a nice sized dining and living room space,  when you walk in the door and look to the right is our living room.

This is that same window from the back of the dining room space

 This is looking into the dining room from the living room, and through the sliding door is our sun room

I am so excited to actually start the projects and moving in soon.  It has been the longest, craziest journey.

There is going to be more housing pictures to come and more projects to complete.  I can't wait to start this journey and share it with you.



Monday, July 2, 2012

Starting the clean up process

We finally and officially own our house as of last Tuesday.  It has been a crazy week trying to get in to this house before we leave tomorrow on vacation for the 4th of July.  Moving into a new home is always work.  Especially when this home is old, and requires some TLC.  Ours fits into that description, but that is ok, because while money may be tight, we can put some hard work into our home to make it better.

We did our walk through and our son's favorite part was that he could easily turn the lights on and off in his room.

Then the real work started, we pulled off the wall paper and wooden panels from the rooms. (well except the master because we hit a snag, but more on that later.).

We cut out cabinets in the kitchen to make room for our new appliances.

What used to be here was an original to the house (built in '62) two burner counter top stove with an extremely small upper oven.  We knew that it HAD to go.  So we are replacing it.

Then we taped off the rooms and the floor so we could scrape the gross popcorn ceilings off.

Then commenced the scraping, drywall patching, texturing and paint.  It was a lot of work, but makes an amazing difference.  More to come soon!