Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bed rest and work

Now that I'm on bed rest, I have been wondering what in the world I can do to make some extra money.  Making 60% of my regular RN income is really a kick in the pants.  I am trying to wrap gifts and make quilts 2-3 minutes at a time.  This makes for some shoddy wrapping and an incredibly special quilt that these kids better freakin' appreciate one day.  :) 

I was wondering what to do for stocking stuffers when I remembered that Avon had some pretty cool, fun things for kids.  They always have.  One of my favorite things when we were little was the roll-on body paint/soap for the bathtub.  There are a few other things that I remember but my memory was jogged when I complimented a lady in the grocery store because she smelled so good.  I'm not walking around smelling strangers but I'm almost 6 months pregnant and smells still bother me, a lot.  She said she got it through her Avon lady.  That's when a light went off.  People buy make-up, bath and body products all the time so why can't they buy it from me?  I'm not doing this to make a ton of money but it can help me focus and stay busy while on bed rest.  I placed the first order tonight so it can get here by Christmas.  Unfortunately, several items from multiple clients are on back-order.  We'll see how soon product arrives and if it ships correctly.   

I'm seriously thinking about moving my blog since blogspot won't upload photos for me anymore.  It's very frustrating! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree

Yesterday was such a great family day and I will tuck it away in my memory forever.  We went to buy our first real Christmas tree and it was a beauty.  After the guy helped us put it on the roof of the Explorer, John and I realized that neither of us had cash to tip him.  He was obviously disappointed.  We told him that we would come back and he just walked off.  We ended up dropping the tree off at the house and placing it in the den.  Harper Anne and I decided to light the tree while daddy ran back to the tree place to tip our helper and then run by the liquor store.  What's a day of Christmas decorating without liquor?  We didn't hang any decorations until daddy got back so we could all do it together.  Harper Anne especially loved the Christmas tree skirt my MeMe made for me several years ago.  It was one of the last ones she made and I was explaining to her how very special it was. 

I showed Harper Anne how to hang the decorations on the tree and she did an awesome job.  The lower portion of our tree is heavily decorated.  :)

Last night after a long, first annual tree decorating event we we  hongry.  That's right.  Hongry is far past your average hungry.  John said that he wanted chicken spaghetti.  I can promise you one thing: my husband did not want chicken spaghetti.  Early I mentioned that this was the type of day where my mom would have made that dish and that I thought it sounded good.  He's so sweet.  Chicken spaghetti takes a while but we wanted something quick.  We took out one bag of the cauliflower/cheese sauce.  Since John doesn't eat a lot of meat I didn't want to shred the chicken and him decide that he'd eat around the chicken.  I pan seared some chicken in Italian bread crumbs and threw some pasta in a pot.  Don't worry, I did all of this while sitting down.  :)  Once the pasta was done I threw the sauce in a bowl and heated it in the microwave.  I got Harper Anne to help me stir in two of her tiny hand-fulls of cheese because well, we like cheese.  Also I thought if she helped me make it she just might eat it.  We stirred in the pasta and topped with the breaded chicken.  Best dinner in a very long time!  I felt odd not having an extra vegetable but was so tired and convinced myself that it was ok since the sauce was itself a vegetable.  HIGHLY recommend this sauce.  I still can't get over how excellent this dish was.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Freezer meals and pregnancy

This is going to be a long post.  Brace yourself or just stop reading here. 

If you read the last post you know that I decided to start making some freezer meals.  Maybe not full blown meals but everything is complete to the point of actually cooking.  I cooked 8 lbs of ground beef with onions, carrots and green bell peppers.  I seriously never thought of adding carrots or green peppers but man, does it smell delicious!  The carrots are a bonus because you can't really taste them.  You see the reason why I can't post pictures?  I can't get over the lines.  Yuk!  I'll do my best to describe what I did and the photos aren't posting in order.  Wonderful.  Bleh.

Anywho...I went to two stores, Kroger and Food Town.  I got most of my produce from Food Town and they didn't have any marked down meat so I stopped by Kroger on the way home and hit the jackpot!  I spent a total of $71 at Food Town and $101 at Kroger. If I was a coupon clipper, I'm sure I would have banked but that's ok.  It was my first time buying like this so I'm cutting myself some slack.  Within these two stores I bought a lot of things that will last our family at least 2-3 months.  Flour, sugar, nuts, oatmeal, pasta, butter and cream cheese.  I also purchased a new muffin tin and a huge mixing bowl.  By my calculations I spent less than $130 (not counting above items) and got at least 2 weeks worth of food.  It's probably more like 3-4 weeks according to John.  This ground beef is lean and was marked down to $2.59/lb.  This 5 lb bag of carrots was on sale for $3.50 so I bought two.  The green bell peppers were 5/$1.00 and the onions were $.59/lb.  WHAAAAAT!  I was so proud of myself.  Looking back, I should have loaded up on the onions and bell peppers. I won't bore you with every bit of produce that was purchased but I will say that I got a lot of produce.  I bought 2 large heads of cauliflower and pureed it, added a little bit of cheese and viola!  I've found that cauliflower is awesome but I have a texture issue.  I know this and I'm ok with sneaking it into meals whenever I possibly can.  I literally added probably 2 cups of shredded cheese to the entire batch of pureed cauliflower and got a perfect cheese sauce for pasta or any other dish that needs a cream or cheese base.  What you're seeing below in quart size freezer bags:  4 bags of the cauliflower/cheese mix, 4 bags of shredded carrots, 2 bags of pasta sauce (with broccoli puree) and finally 2 bags of broccoli puree that can be added very quickly to a casserole, chili or any thing else you may desire.  BTW- a five pound bag of carrots makes A LOT of shredded carrots.  :)

With the Kroger meat madness, I scored some pork chops, skirt steak, sirloin and a rump roast.  I need to figure out what to do with the rump roast but the others are super easy.  If you find some meat marked down but you don't want to have it this week, go ahead and buy it.  Portion it appropriately and drop in some quart size freezer baggies with your favorite marinade and there ya go.  Freeze it and it will marinade as it thaws. 

If you have ever had a breathing problem then close your eyes, remember what that feels like and that has been my life for the past 2-3 weeks.  The shortness of breath and labored breathing have been manageable up to this point.  I've had asthma all of my life and these symptoms are no stranger to me.  My triggers have always been sudden weather changes, some pet dander and exercise.  I'm currently taking weekly progesterone shots for preterm labor and I'm very excited to see if I can take them up to 37 weeks, which is the maximum. 

I noticed after each shot for the first two weeks I experienced some shortness of breath but it only lasted a couple of days.  I mentioned this to the home health nurse during her Thanksgiving week visit but a cold front had just come through so I told her I wasn't sure if it was the weather changing or the shot causing my symptoms.  She told me to just watch it and keep her and my doctor posted. I thought this was reasonable so I got my shot on Tuesday and on Wednesday we drove to Marshall to visit my family for Thanksgiving.  Wednesday evening was awful.  I was coughing and couldn't catch my breath.  It felt like a mild asthma attack.  Took some meds and was fine.  Since that Wednesday, I have used my rescue inhaler every 3-4 hours consistently.  This isn't healthy.  I no longer have a primary care physician here in Houston since I went to work for Memorial Hermann.  Not that they don't have any, but I wanted to keep my same doctor and he is not affiliated with this hospital.  Tuesday of this week I couldn't take it anymore.  I cracked my nebulizer and needed a new one and all of my albuterol solution was 8 years expired.  After calling my insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of a new one, I went to the RediClinic at our local HEB to get a prescription order for new albuterol vials and an order for the nebulizer.  I found a company that carries the specific nebulizer that I truly want and it won't get here for approximately 2 weeks.  Ugh.  Luckily my neighbor is letting me borrow her son's nebulizer until mine arrives. 

If you ever need a nebulizer I highly recommend the OMRON brand.  They last forever and their customer service is great.  Being a nurse, I've seen many nebulizers which I'm sure are fine and they work (that's all that matters when it comes down to it) but they always tend to fail after repeated use.  Here's a photo of the one I want:This sucker is 5 inches tall, 2 inches in depth and uses some sort of fancy ultrasonic technology so that all medicine in the vial is vaporized.  WOOHOO!  Talk about truly portable.  I'll get my mom to send me a photo of the 20 lb machine I used from infancy until about the age of 16.  It's funny to see the difference.