Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taco Tuesday!

We love Chipotle. It is so sad that we haven't lived near one in the last 6 years. It's true, when we take trips, we always stop at Chipotle if we're near one. One positive of our upcoming move is the fact that we will be within an hour's drive from one! Woohoo! Another positive is that without Chipotle in our lives, it has forced me to find items to make my own yummy creation at home...which was a very good thing! The following is one incredible taco, and I'd put it up against a Chipotle burrito any day. For real. This recipe may look a bit intimidating with all of the ingredients, but it really isn't difficult, and doesn't have to be time-consuming either. If you want to save a good deal of time, I've found a good alternative to making my own tortillas. Kroger sells a package of tortillas in their refrigerated section that aren't cooked, but already formed, so all you need to do is quickly cook them. They are almost as good as homemade, and I've used them several times to save myself some precious minutes. :)

Orange Dijon Pork Tacos
(serves 4 people)

  • Flour tortillas (see recipe here)
  • Shredded orange Dijon pork
    • 1-2 lb pork tenderloin
    • 3 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
    • 6 oz Dijon mustard
    • 2/3 cup orange juice
    • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Cilantro lime rice
    • 1 3/4 cups water
    • Dash of salt
    • 3 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1 cup jasmine rice
    • 1 Tbsp lime juice, or the juice of 1/2 lime
    • 3-4 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sautéed veggies
    • 2 red bell peppers
    • 1 red onion
    • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
To save time getting dinner to the table later, I make my pork in my crockpot. You can alternatively marinade, then grill, the pork tenderloin, but it's also really good after cooking it all day in the slow cooker, and it's much easier, too. So, to begin, just place the pork in the crockpot and sprinkle evenly with the Cajun seasoning. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, orange juice and Worcestershire sauce. Pour this mixture over the seasoned pork and set it to cook for 4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low. When it's done, you should be able to easily shred it with 2 forks and it is ready to go!!

To begin prep before dinner, make your flour tortillas first. See the link above for how to prepare these. They are really good when warm, so I try to make mine while preparing the other items, but if you want, you can have them completed before starting the other items.

Next, get your rice going. Add 1 tsp of oil to the water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow it to cook until all of the water has evaporated. I follow the package directions, which calls for 10-15 minutes. Once it is finished, add the remaining oil, the lime juice and cilantro and mix well.

While the rice is cooking, slice your bell peppers and onion into thin strips. Heat a sauté pan to medium heat, add the EVOO, and once warm, add your veggies. Sauté the veggies until they are softened, about 10-15 minutes.

That's it! Now it's time to prepare your tacos. Layer the shredded pork, rice, veggies and cheese on your tortilla, roll it up and enjoy! :)

I promise you will love this one!! What's better than Taco Tuesday, right? I'm sure all of your little Lego Movie fans will agree. ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

To Everything There is a Season

It's been three years. Three years since Josh started working for Eastman and we (Josh, Ethan, Noah and I) made the move north, from our beautiful Georgia home, to an apartment in Tennessee. Three years prior to that, we took the plunge and moved south, from our cozy home in Kentucky to an apartment in Alabama, and eventually that house in Georgia. At that time we had no kids, but Ethan was born a mere 4 weeks after we moved into our house there. Noah was also born while we lived in Georgia, but just six months before making the move to Tennessee. While here, we've added one more child to the mix and surprise...it's time to move again now!

No babies born this year, so it wouldn't be much of a Christmas newsletter without a move! ;) Haha!

Josh is scheduled to start his new position as Manager, Speciality Films Development (still with Eastman - not a new company this time!), early next month in Virginia, but we're not planning to join him there until after Christmas. We'd like for Ethan to be able to finish out the calendar year at his school that he loves so much, and figured January would be a good starting point for a new school. We hope that it won't be too hard on him, but fortunately, he's still young. The move will be a good one for our family and Josh's career. So, here we go again!

In other news, we weren't planning on expanding our family quite so soon, but we have nonetheless. We'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Lego.

One of Josh's co-workers approached him about a month ago, wondering if we'd be interested in adopting her boxer. She knew we had recently lost our beloved Daisy, but knew what a wonderful life we had given her, and wanted the same for her girl. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, she was no longer able to keep her. So, after taking a "test run" if you will, with her for a week, we decided it was meant to be. We will be her forever family. Her official name was Stella Lego, but they called her Lego (yep, she has a 6-year-old son who suggested that one!), so we decided to stick with Lego, but give her a new middle name to represent our time here in TN. Lego Gray. :) Perfect!

She is a beautiful, smart boxer, just like our Daisy was. Still a pup, she's excitable, playful, and a little bit crazy, but extremely loving with an incredibly sweet demeanor. She already loves cuddling and taking walks with us. We think she'll fit right in here.

So, as usual, we like to make lots of big life changes all at once. New job, move, and new member of the family. The seasons of our lives just keep turn, turn, turning...happy fall y'all!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Amos is ONE!

Age of Baby: 12 months

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 18 lbs 9 oz (down to the 3rd percentile), +6 oz from last month
  • Length: 29.75 inches (up to the 49th percentile), +0.75 inch from last month
  • Head circumference: 46 cm (up to the 30th percentile)
  • Height-to-Weight ratio: down to less than the 3rd percentile
Amos is still wearing a size 3 diaper and mostly 12-month clothes. He is wearing a size 4 shoe now!

  • Hib
  • Hepatitis A
  • Chickenpox
  • Influenza
Doctor's Visit Summary:

His visit went well this month. At the one-year check, they also do a finger stick for blood to check lead and iron levels. His were great - yay! He did really well when they stuck his finger, but wasn't a fan of them squeezing it to get the blood. :/ His doctor said he looked great and is ahead of the curve developmentally, so I guess we're good! He said that safety concerns are the main thing to watch for now. Definitely a must with this one! I finally installed safety gates at the bottom of the stairs on the main level and basement last night. I never had to do that with the other two, but this little guy is C-R-A-Z-Y!! Haha!

Picture of Baby:

Here is Amos's 12-month picture in the 12-month onesie. Hard to believe an entire year has passed! He still doesn't have much hair, but what he has is blond. His eyes have settled into a beautiful hazel color. :)

And here is a comparison of all three of the boys at twelve months, just for fun. Ethan and Noah were quite a bit bigger at this point (Ethan was 31 inches long and weighed 20 lbs 11 oz and Noah was 30.5 inches long and weighed exactly 20 lbs!), but I'm sure Amos will go through a growth spurt soon. I think Amos is a pretty good mix of his brothers, but may resemble Ethan a bit more?

Ethan, Noah, and Amos (each at 12 months)

And now for a fun look back at Amos this past year...

Accomplishments this Month:
  • Walking with ease
  • First haircut!
  • Climbing
He started the month still pretty wobbly, but by the end of the month, he is zooming across rooms now! He's tried to run on occasion (mostly to keep up with his big brothers!), but he's not quite coordinated enough for that yet! LOL! He isn't far off though.

We're learning by the third child! Haha! Since the other two had crazy hair (aka mullets and hair sticking up everywhere) for their first birthday pictures and parties, we decided to rectify that and Josh cut Amos's hair before those events this time. :) Note the one super long strand (hanging to the right in the first pic and Josh holding it in the last pic). It's been really long since he was born, so I think it was ready to be cut. ;)

So here is the before...

...and then the after!

Such a handsome young man! It's always hard for me seeing those first bits of hair come off, but at least he wasn't losing any precious curls like big brother Noah did with his first haircut! He appears to have mine and Ethan's thin,

This boy loves to climb. The stairs. The back of the couch. Pretty much anything he can try to climb. The stairs have to be gated, or he'll take off up them the moment he gets the chance! He knows he's not supposed to because you'll hear him start to laugh insanely as he does it, and he picks up the pace when he sees me start to come get him! LOL! Such an ornery booger!

New Foods tried this Month:
  • Calamari
  • Spinach and arugula
  • Peanut butter
  • Hummus
  • Chocolate cake
  • Whole milk
  • Chicken livers
Amos continues to be our very adventurous eater. He will try literally everything you put in front of him. If he doesn't like it, he tends to start tossing the pieces of it over the side of his highchair. LOL! But, there isn't much that he doesn't like, so that's a good thing! :) I've also continued to nurse him every 3-4 hours during the day (around 7:15 am, 10:45 am, 2 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm) for around 5-10 minutes. Yay, we made it one year! He isn't showing signs of wanting to wean, so we'll keep it up as long as he wants to for now. Granted my body has not been entirely my own since October of 2010 now (yeah, FOUR straight years of being either pregnant or nursing!!), I'll hang in there. I got a break between Ethan and Noah, but none between Noah and Amos! I tried giving him some whole milk in a straw cup last week and surprisingly, he did really well with it! It took a couple weeks for Ethan and Noah to warm up to the idea of cow's milk, so I couldn't believe Amos took to it right away! He did make a face at first, but continued to drink it, so that was good!

Amos is finally sleeping better again! Woohoo! He still occasionally wakes at night, but has slept through the night more nights than he hasn't lately. Whew. He is averaging around 12.25 hours of sleep a day (10.25 hours at night and 2 hours during the day) and is still going to bed around 8 pm, and sleeping until between 7 and 7:30 am. He is still taking his 2-3 hour nap in the late morning.

And here is his final year one summary. :)

Happy 1st Birthday, little Amos! We love you!