Reuben Crescent Bake

Reuben Crescent Bake

reubenReuben.  ‘Nuff said.  This Reuben dish feeds an entire family and combines all of the favorite ingredients of a Reuben with a crescent dough.  Now, if I’m being honest, I’ll have to say that the rye bread makes the sandwich, because it does.  But, on a busy weeknight this meal is a great option!  I have adapted the recipe (larger quantity mainly) from this one found here at allrecipes.  Check it out if you’d like to see the original!

Ingredients

  • 2 rolls Pillsbury crescent dough (8 oz)
  • 1 1/4 lb corned beef deli meat (I prefer it to be sliced thick, but any thickness will do!)
  •  16 (at least) slices of Swiss or baby Swiss cheese
  • 2/3 cup Thousand Island Dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • caraway seeds (according to taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a 9″x13″ glass baking dish.
  2. Mix together the sauerkraut and Thousand Island Dressing until well combined.  Unroll the crescent roll dough into the bottom of the greased baking pan.
  3. Bake the dough crust in the baking dish until lightly browned, 8 – 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and place slices of cheese in a single layer on top of the baked dough.  Top the slices of cheese with a layer (or two) of the corned beef.  Next, layer the sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing mixture on top of the corned beef.  Add another layer of Swiss cheese.  Lay the second sheet of crescent dough over the Swiss cheese.  Brush the top of the dough with beaten egg white and sprinkle with the desired amount of caraway seeds.
  4. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, 15-20 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes prior to serving.

Enjoy!

Poshmark: Am I Doing This Right?

Poshmark: Am I Doing This Right?

Last month I joined the Poshmark world.  Never thought that would be a sentence I would write.  I was always intrigued by the idea of Poshmark, not because I want to purchase things, but because I now have a plethora of clothing that will never, ever fit me again.  That and I have 562.5 pairs of maternity jeans that have a lot of life left in them and I would love for someone to be able to use them.

My sister-in-law sent me a text saying she was starting a Poshmark boutique (check her clothes out… they’re adorable!) in addition to her “closet”.  Huh?  English, please… I just want to sell things I can no longer fit in.  Translation?  You can have a “closet” to sell your used clothing or you can purchase clothing through Poshmark wholesale and create a “boutique”.  Pretty awesome, right?

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As I’m navigating Poshmark for the first time, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way (most thanks to my awesome sister-in-law veteran Poshmarker):

  • It’s super easy to list your clothing.  Take a picture in the app, list the details, such as size, brand, the item’s original price, and a description of the item.  Here are a few tips for listing:
    • Take clear photos of the item.  Add several pictures to show important details of the garment.  Are there any flaws or worn spots?  Take pictures of those so buyers are aware if there are any issues.  You don’t want unhappy customers!
    • Give a very detailed description so buyers know exactly what they’re getting.  Add details like color of item, condition, and any added details that may not be clear by the images you add.
    • Pairing items with accessories or shoes gives items a little more character and may give buyers a better idea of how great your item may look as an outfit.
    • Brand name items sell much more quickly than non-name brand items.
    • Does your item still have tags?  Even better!  There is a “New with Tags” category.  In addition to the category, make sure you add “NWT” to the beginning of the item name.  People will see this when you list the item.  If you have a new item with no tags, you can similarly list the item as “NWOT”, or “New Without Tags”.
  • How much do you get paid when you sell an item?  Pretty simple-Poshmark takes a cut of what you get paid (around $2.95 per item from what I can tell) and you can see exactly what you’ll be receiving when you set the price of an item.  It will display the price you are asking for the item in addition to what you will be paid for the item when sold.
  • How do you get more views and get your clothes out there easier?  Share, share share.  It also helps to follow A LOT of people.  I actually had to turn off my “follow” notifications the day I created my account because so many people follow each other to get more views.  It also helps if you share items that you see that you like.  If you share an item, that seller is likely to share an item of yours, which helps get your item more views.
  • Join parties relevant to your items.  Is there a dress party going on?  Join the party, then go to your closet and share every item that is relevant to that party.  People in the dress party will see all of your items and you will receive more views.
  • You can offer bundles.  Have a lot of accessories you’re willing to part with for cheap?  Bundle them by offering 5 bracelets for $20.  People see this as a deal, cheaper shipping because they all ship together, and you can sell more items this way.
  • Share your items frequently.  This way your items are seen by more people and the more people that view your item, the more likely your item is to sell.
  • You can connect your Poshmark to your Pinterest.  People may see your items on Pinterest and may be taken directly to your Poshmark closet to purchase items.  Pretty cool, huh?

I’ve noticed that after having successfully sold a few pieces with positive feedback, I receive more offers.  In the beginning it seems you just take offers you can get, even if that means you’re not making much on each item.  Building a good rapport goes a long way and will allow potential buyers to see they will receive quality items that ship quickly.

I’m still learning the ropes in this Poshmark world, but hopefully one day I will become a Poshmark expert.  That’s my experience so far-check out my closet while you’re at it for some inspiration 😉

Easy Baked Ziti

Easy Baked Ziti

I love pasta.  I mean, I really LOVE pasta. So, this recipe is one of my favorites-pasta, cheese, and Italian sausage… what’s not to love?!

Ingredients

  • 16 oz small pasta (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 lb mild ground Italian sausage
  • 1 package fresh baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 24 oz (+) jar pasta sauce (I use tomato basil)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Basil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions and brown Italian sausage until fully cooked.
  3. Once pasta is cooked and sausage is browned, mix jar of sauce (I used a little more than one jar to make sure the ziti didn’t dry out while baking), mushrooms, and sausage into pasta.
  4. Add half of the pasta mixture to a 9″x13″ baking dish.  Top with half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and half of the fresh basil.
  5. Add remaining pasta mixture to top of cheese and basil.
  6. Add remaining mozzarella to pasta mixture and bake in oven 20-25 minutes until heated through.
  7. Add remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh basil to baked pasta and serve immediately.

I love this recipe because I can layer all of the ingredients in a baking pan, pop it in the fridge (or even freezer!) to be baked later.  It’s a hearty meal that feeds several people easily.  You can customize it however you like by using chicken instead of sausage or going meatless.  You can also leave out the mushrooms or basil for picky eaters.  This makes a great weeknight meal!

Need More Baby Stuff? Heck No, But Here’s What You Should Buy Anyway…

Need More Baby Stuff? Heck No, But Here’s What You Should Buy Anyway…

Alright, maybe Luvs was onto something with their famous slogan, “You live, you learn, then you get Luvs”.  Not necessarily sure the Luvs part is true, but you do live and learn after a first child (they were just practice anyway, amiright?!).  Here are some things I have found VERY helpful the second time around that we either had and didn’t use the first time or I begrudgingly purchased the second time around.  I purchased most of these items from Amazon or Babies R’ Us (RIP), so click the links for easy access (you know you want to…).  Items range from booty wipes all the way up to the Mamaroo… just kidding!  I didn’t buy a Mamaroo… those things creep me the heck out…

Summer Infant Pop N’ Jump Portable Jumper, $59.98

portable jumper

Our first son was born in May, so by the time he was old enough and strong enough to use a jumper we were always inside.  Who knew one of these would come in so handy?!  Our second is now 6 months old and it’s the dead of the summer and with a 4-year-old brother who ALWAYS wants to be outside, it’s difficult wrangling both of them at the same time when the baby can’t walk.  Problem. Solved.  You literally pull this baby out of it’s bag and voila!  Instant jumper.  It is very sturdy and well constructed and has a detachable sun shade for outdoor use.  It has three adjustable height settings for the tiny ones and the taller ones.  It comes with adorable toys on top that a baby would actually play with (imagine that, toy designers… ).   This jumper is also amazing if you are out and about at older siblings’ sporting events, family gatherings, just anywhere you’d like to sit your little one down to play.

Not only is this find great for outdoors, but it’s great if you don’t want to move a stationary jumper all around the house.  We have ridiculously narrow doorways in our house, so the jumper has to be left in whatever room you decide to set it up in. This is a game changer!

Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard, $68.99

playard

I haven’t used this find as much as the first just because of how young our baby is.  In about a month or so he’ll be sitting on his own and this will be a lot more useful out in the yard, at family gatherings, and maybe even around the house when we don’t want to put up the Pack N’ Play.

I will say for ease of use this gets a solid 10/10.  I can’t say that I would pay this price for it, though since I haven’t used it much yet (key word here being yet… I know it will be much more useful for us very soon).  I happened to find an older discontinued version online at Babies R’ Us (RIP Geoffrey 😥 ).  This version has a detachable sunshade and its colors are very similar to the Jump N’ Play above.

Member’s Mark Premium Fragrance Free Baby Wipes, $19.96 for 1,152 Wipes

wipesAs value goes, these are a winner, winner, chicken dinner. If you don’t have a Sam’s Club Membership, you can also purchase them here on Amazon for about $5 more, which is still an awesome deal.

The wipes are fragrance free, extremely thick, and are textured which cleans well.  They also seem to stay damp much longer than most wipes we’ve used in the past.

Graco Roomfor2 Click Connect Stand and Ride Stroller, $108.99

strollerThis stroller came recommended from a friend and I am SO glad I made the investment on this one.  When I finally decided having a double stroller on hand would be handy I added this to my Amazon cart.  About 5 hours later the listed price was $70.  Are. You. Kidding. Me.  I have never clicked “Add to Cart” so fast in my life.

I cannot say enough about this stroller.  It is lightweight, folds easily, maneuvers like a champ, and best of all has a car seat adapter.  This feature is what sold me.  My awesome parents bought us the Snug-Ride Babies R’ Us (*sniff sniff*) exclusive system with car seat, base, and stroller before our first was born.  I was spoiled by a stroller that functioned both a sturdy stroller with great maneuverability that also adapted to a car seat effortlessly.  Being spoiled by this system no other stroller would impress me, but double stroller sure has!

It has a rear-facing stand/sit portion for older kids (it does have straps if your little one happens to be wiggly or are a little younger than our four-year-old) and a forward facing seat or rear facing car seat adapter.  There is even still storage room in the bottom of the stroller (whaaaaaaaaaat?!).  You can’t go wrong with this one!

Bandana Bibs and Bandana Bibs with Teethers, $17.05 & $10.99

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bibsThese adorable things started making their appearance around the time our oldest was about a year old, so I thought “spend more money on bibs? nope”.  This time around I splurged.  They’re adorable, functional, and hold up fairly well.

The bibs with teethers come with a warning-be sure you watch your little one while they’re wearing these because the teethers are very flexible and small, which is awesome for their little gums and easy for them to hold, but if they come off of their snap they could be a choking hazard!

MAM Pacifiers, $7.49

pacifier

Ditched the Soothies this time around.  I’m a smarter, more experience mom now, remember?  Those darn Soothies are so huge they don’t stay in tiny mouths and they are hard for babies to hold in place in their mouth.  After shoving the Soothie into our 2 week old’s mouth for what seemed like the gazillionth time I had had it.  I dug into my neatly organized storage bin of baby freebies (ha… you believed I had that stuff organized? Sarcasm, people, sarcasm…) I came across a newborn MAM pacifier that looked like it might solve all of the world’s problems.  Ok, it solved all my problems at that moment in time, which is a pretty bold claim for a little piece of rubber and plastic.  We’ve been using MAM pacifiers ever since and haven’t looked back!  They come in adorable colors and are age specific so they don’t choke or have a nipple that is too large or small for their growing mouths.  Check ’em out!

Skip Hop Baby Grand Central Take-It-All Diaper Backpack, $79.97

backpack

Did we need a new diaper bag?  Nope.  Ours has lasted through the first and at this rate would probably last through a nuclear holocaust (props to you, little Skip Hop Mary Poppins bag!), but did I want a new one?  You bet.

I had my eye on the Skip Hop Baby Grand Central Take-It-All, but rolled my eyes every time I saw the price.  I finally came across one on sale one day with coupons on top of the already discounted price and scored one for (wait for it…) $30.  Done and Done.  Thanks, Babies R’ Us (dang… I’m realizing how much I actually miss this store)!

What I love about this bag is that it is stylish, lightweight, and easy to throw things in and go.  The only complaint I really have is that it doesn’t have many interior pockets, but other than that it is sturdy and does its job!

Earlyears Fill ‘N Fun Water Play Mat for Tummy Time, $12.95

play mat

Like most babies, our little man HATED tummy time.  This made it a little easier for him since he had something to actually “do” while he was on his tummy.  It served its purpose and was entertaining to try to get him to actually enjoy being on his stomach.

Muslin Canopy  Car Seat Cover, $13.99

car seat cover

We had a heavy weight car seat cover for our oldest child that worked great when our second was born, but now that the warmer months are here I have found it helpful to have a lightweight cover for bright sun and rain.  This one has owls. Totes. Adorbs.

Snap-Front Rompers, $10.97

romperOur first was born in the winter, so we didn’t have many summer clothes for him.  Since we had all winter clothes for newborn – 6 month clothing I had to go in search of easy options for our youngest.  Old Navy to the rescue!  Seriously, though… who doesn’t like a romper?  I may or may not have had a cart full of tiny man rompers that day :/

Nested Bean Zen Swaddle and Sleep Sacks, $32.99

sleep sackWe have a billion sleep sacks.  Why?  Our oldest HATED, hated, hated being swaddled.  That little guy would do absolutely anything to get his little arms free.  We eventually settled on sleep sacks that could wrap, but we could leave his arms out.  He felt warm, secure, and wrapped nice and tightly, but was able to move his arms.

Flash forward a few years to his little brother… the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree apparently.  We faced a new problem this time, however.  The Moro reflex was strong with this one, let me tell ya.  He would flail so hard in fact that he would hit himself in the face and wake himself up.  The solution?  The Nested Bean Zen Swaddle.  It seriously worked like a charm!  He actually slept through the night after using it for a few nights.  I’m sure a lot of different factors went into sleep improvement, but I know this nifty little sleep sack helped his reflexes immensely.  Fast-forward 6 months and he is still using the larger sleep sacks.  Thanks, Nested Bean-we actually get sleep!

 

 

Save the Trees… and Get Crafty!

Save the Trees… and Get Crafty!

When I was a kid, maybe Kindergarten or First Grade, I brought home a tiny little pine tree and planted it in my backyard.  That little tree lived until a few years ago and had to be cut down.  My parents left the stump because my mom couldn’t bear to see it go, so she made it an adorable little garden.

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My dad saved a few branches for me, so I decided I had to do something with them.  One branch almost looked like a coat rack all on its own, so that’s what I rolled with.  Thanks to Amazon, I found cast iron owl hooks that went with the branch perfectly.  I screwed the owls onto the branch, drilled two wholes in the branch, then screwed the branch to the wall.  Perfect coat rack!

 

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A few weeks after making the coat rack my oldest son came home with a few tiny pine cones in hand and said “Mommy, these are so you remember your tree”.  I’m not crying, you’re crying.  Seriously.  So, of course I hung those babies up next to the coat rack (yes… that is our fingerprint family below the pine cones… minus the tiny one).

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Hope this inspired all of you to get a little creative with your memories!

 

Pizzadillas

Pizzadillas

I have to give credit where credit is due on this one… thanks, Mom!  This recipe is quick, easy, and pleases even the pickiest of eaters.  As long as you have tortillas and cheese in the house, I guarantee you have any other ingredients you will need to make this easy recipe.

Ingredients

  • Flour tortillas (I like the large burrito size)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza toppings.  Here are some of our favorites
    • turkey pepperoni (makes for a less greasy and easier to eat pizzadilla, but traditional pepperoni works just fine, too!)
    • diced ham
    • shredded or diced chicken
    • mushrooms
    • black olives
    • fresh spinach
    • diced bell pepper
    • diced onion

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and spray non-stick spray in the skillet evenly.
  2. Add toppings such as cheese, meat, and vegetables to half of a tortilla and fold over.
  3. Heat the pizzadilla with toppings inside in skillet until partially melted and lightly browned on the bottom.
  4. Flip pizzadilla and brown other side.
  5. Cut into even triangles using pizza cutter or knife.
  6. Serve with pizza sauce or pasta sauce of choice.

The best part of this recipe is that you can use anything you have on hand.  Picky eaters?  No problem!  They can have whatever their hearts desire in their pizzadilla!

Free Books: Update!

Free Books: Update!

You guys… we’re STILL enjoying free books from Imagination Library.  I can’t say enough good things about this awesome program.  If you missed my post a few years ago about how you can get a free book every month for your child until they reach age 5, take a look here!

In fact, our oldest child has received so many books I had to get creative with some book storage solutions :/

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Ikea FTW!  Ikea spice racks make excellent bookshelves and take up very little space.  You can find them at Ikea or if you’re like me and just can’t Ikea right now, Amazon is always there for you.  It’s always there for me.  We’re besties.

Mom Hack: The Sniff Test

Mom Hack: The Sniff Test

This isn’t necessarily a hack per se, but rather an essential mom skill.

The sniff test can be used in a myriad of situations. For instance, your child has worn their shirt once for like 5 seconds. Is it clean? Administer the sniff test. Is your baby’s diaper dirty? Administer the sniff test. Uhhhh… what the heck is that stain on the couch? Administer the sniff test. I’ve had these yoga pants on for 3 days and haven’t showered. Don’t administer the sniff test… they’re disgusting, but don’t change. It’s the mom uniform.

There is Hope, Second Time Moms

There is Hope, Second Time Moms

img_3443This is for you, soon-to-be momma of two, or three, or four, or… ok, not five.  I can’t help you there-you’re on your own with that many!  But seriously, this is to assure you if your first child was easy that your second probably won’t be a terror like everyone says.  The most frequent comment I received during my second pregnancy?  “oh… second children are always the difficult ones”.

I’m here to tell you, sleep deprived momma, that this couldn’t have been further from the truth for us.  I actually now understand what an “easy baby” is.  We were young and didn’t know any better the first time.  Our first child ate every hour on the hour, if not sooner, until he was 6 months old and normally wouldn’t sleep unless held.  I’m sure personality, diet, and a myriad of outside factors probably contribute to a baby’s temperament (see my previous post here for my theory…), but don’t let those comments scare you. Our second child is the happiest, healthiest, chubbiest, most chill tiny human I’ve seen yet!

Moral of the story?  Every child is different for so many reasons.  Had an easy first child and are terrified that your second will pop out like Stripe from the movie Gremlins (oh come on guys… you know, Gremlins the movie?  I can’t be that old…)?  Relax… chances are they will be a calm, happy baby.  From what I’ve seen with our kids and everyone else around us the second child tends to be content in any situation.  It may be that they’re so used to waiting for food, to be held, or just hanging out while mom cooks dinner, takes care of the older kids, or cleans that they just roll with it.  Props to you, second children!  May you be easy on your second time mommas!