Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shoulder Roast Recipe

We are halfway through with our half of the split-quarter from Crooked Creek Beef. We also reserved a split quarter that will be ready in December. They have some left if you want to reserve yours!

We have eaten most of the steaks and have ground beef and the large cuts of meat left, like roasts.

Here is what I did with the shoulder roast. I started with this recipe and added things based on the comments. I love crock pot roast. I hate crock pot potatoes. They come out all mushy. One of the comments said to add them half way through the day. I would say bake them in the oven or microwave. Or have Tater Tots, as we did. I love Tots. 

2-pounds boneless beef roast (I used the Shoulder Roast)
2-tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt & Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce
1-yellow onion
16-ounces Baby Carrots (or peel/cut your own, who has time for that?)
16-ounce mushrooms (whole or cut)
14-ounce can Beef Broth
10.75 can Cream of XYZ Soup. I used Cream of Mushroom & Roasted Garlic
2-tablespoons fresh parsley


  1. Dredge the roast in the flour. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the roast in the oil for 15 minutes, or until all sides are well browned. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
  2. Layer the carrots, quarter the onion, and mushrooms in the bottom of a slow cooker (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) 
  3. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce & garlic powder. (and other spices you might like)
  4. Pour the can of beef broth in the slow cooker.
  5. Place the roast on top and pour the soup on top of the roast.
  6. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low 8-10 hours. 
  7. Eat with baked potatoes (or tater tops) or pasta. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quick Update - Job Front

It's been 2+ weeks since I have updated. It's mostly a time thing. Weekends have been busy and nights have been spent sleeping, or not sleeping. 

I have 3 draft blogs started...one is called "Couch Potato" about all the TV shows I watch, and the random ones I've started DVRing because I am bored. 

I need more stay at home mom friends. Or any. I'm getting better at braving going out by myself. I also have my days where I am efficient with laundry and dishes and cleaning. And I have plenty of days where I am not. I am very lucky to have a hands on husband with both household chores and the baby. He is in the nursery right now trying to get him to sleep. He's been sleeping in 6-hour chunks the past three days so crossing our fingers we have another good night (so far it's not looking like it.) It just means I'll put in my time in the nursery recliner. Note - comfy recliner BEST. IDEA. EVER. (Thanks Dee!) I cannot imagine sleeping in one of those stupid gliders that everyone wants. 

In the job front, it's been 6 weeks so I'm cleared to work and/or start looking for work. I'm going to slowly ease into it. I'd *LOVE* to stay home for 6-months (through February), but I also don't want to pass up the possibility of the greatest job if there is an opening that pops up. Finding the right job is important, especially since we can't afford for me to stay at home forever. I already have a few job leads, and I need to decide how or if to pursue them. I'm not sure consulting is the line of work I should stay in. Reasons to leave consulting - I hate timesheets. Ugh.... and even after the timesheet thing, I still never feel done with my job. Take fast food workers, their job is done when they go home at the end of the day. There's never a report that still needs editing or another round of groundwater sampling to complete, an invoice to send, or a client phone call to make. Consulting is not bad, it's just stressful. My last job stressed me out past my limit. Lots of factors/reasons why, but it did. Being pregnant during a new job sure didn't help anything either. Moving on though, totally moving on. Just need to decide how and when. 

We got our announcements in the mail (ok, all but the last 10 because I'm still writing a few thank you cards.) This is one of our pictures that Lani took. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lazy Days & Cloth Diaper Update

Liam thinks sleeping, especially at night, is overrated. And he is fussy what seems like all the time. 

Most days I am exhausted and I get to stay at home. Jason is exhausted but he has to work. Most week nights I try to do all the getting up, but a few nights I am so exhausted I don't move and don't wake up at all. Jason will be standing next to me holding a crying baby and I won't hear him at all. I am in a coma and most days feel like a zombie. I only start to feel normal after lunch. I haven't had a good nights sleep in what feels like a year. I would guess it's at least been a few months now. If you add up all the sleep I get throughout the day, it probably is 7-9 hours. But it's in 2-3 hour blocks. And that isn't sufficient for my body. At least not yet. I guess I eventually will get used to not having deep sleep. (Since starting this journal entry a week ago, I am starting to feel more rested.)

I feel very selfish complaining about this. Who am I to complain? I have an amazing husband who helps. He even comes home at lunch so I can shower. And he'll get up with Liam too in the middle of the night. How do single moms do it? Or moms with more selfish husbands who don't get up at night?

I also don't have to work. My work loads includes some light housework and caring for Liam. That's it. Jason helps with chores in the evening and weekends. And the cooking. Sometimes I am able to make dinner, sometimes Jason gets home and has to do most of it (like making a salad or heating up the dinner, grilling, serving, and cleaning up.) I actually made dinner the other night - Jason came home to dinner cooked and ready to be dished out. And I think Liam was calm enough that I was able to clean up. Or not, I actually can't remember much about Thursday night. The days run together, and I can't know what day it is.

I eventually will have to return to work, and sometimes think I want to stay home for more than 12 weeks, like 6 months. And then I have days where Liam is fussy all day/night and only wants to be held and/or eat, and I wish I was at work and we had daycare watching over Liam. Then I wonder how daycare handles a newborn. Do they let him sit and cry it out? What if he isn't on a feeding schedule? Will they feed him on demand? Then I start worrying about leaving him and realize I want to stay home longer.

And while it seems like I'm whining about something frivolous - he wants to be held or fed the entire afternoon - and some people would love to sit at home on the couch feeding a newborn or holding him, it is exhausting when he decides one of those two things doesn't satisfy him and he cries, and cries. Jason will sometimes come home and I'm in an uncomfortable sitting position and Liam is sprawled across my lap, finally passed out. Or he's latched on and been that way for an hour.  And I like that he's sleeping/latched because he's quiet, but it also means a few things - 1) I can't move, and 2) he won't sleep later in the evening, or 3) my boob is drained dry. I worry the long feeding sessions are draining my milk, not aiding in the creation of milk.

Cloth Diaper Update
On a side note of cloth diapers - I bought liners and they help tremendously!! A little less rinsing of the poo. (Though you don't have to remove breastfed poo from diapers before washing.) I read a bunch of reviews on various liners and decided on the incredibum liners. At the moment, at our house, we do not flush them - they go into our diaper trashcan. Out and about, they can be flushed in the restroom toilet. We are still using some disposables, like at night. We have some newborn size left and it helps since disposables do absorb more than cloth.

We have had a few leaks in the cloth diapers. It's out the upper back, when he is laying down. I'm trying to figure out if the diapers are repelling (I don't think they are because they do absorb pee) or if it's because his penis is pointed upward in the diaper. I can only guess since I don't actually have a penis. We don't have any leaks in disposables.

I wash diapers every other night and hang them up to dry overnight (in the basement.) We have this drying rack and it is great. We also have an oscillating fan and the dehumidifier on to keep the air circulating in the basement in the laundry area. On the weekends I try to wash early morning so they can hang outside and dry - and be bleached by the sun.

So far, so good with the diapers! Decent transition and Jason doesn't hate it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cloth Diapers

I'm not a tree hugger, I'm not an environmentalist, but I am interested in saving money. Many people choose cloth diapers for many different reasons. All in all, most people will argue that you aren't saving the environment by using cloth diapers. I might save physical landfill space by not throwing away diapers, but I'm creating a different waste by the extra water I'm using to wash them. 

I chose to do cloth diapers for a few reasons - cost savings, reduction of waste (mostly at home, not too concerned about the landfill at the moment), and chemical/allergy/diaper rash reasons. 

Here is a great blog about all the "dangers" of disposable diapers. I agree with most of the points brought up - I don't know the validity of the numbers they came up with, so take those as a grain of salt. 

Cost Savings
It is estimated that it costs around $80 a month to diaper. If you manage to get your child potty trained by age 2.5 years/30 months, it totals $2,400 spent on disposable diapers. It's a lot of money to throw away. Cloth diapers require a large upfront cost while the cost of disposables is spread out over the span of the child being in diapers. 

My mom purchased 2 boxes of Huggies Newborn Diapers from Sam's Club, and then we purchased 1 box - 108 diapers each box for around $30 each box. We knew we wanted to use disposables diapers during the first weeks of adjusting to parenthood. 

My mom also helped buy cloth diapers. Total purchased was 24 BumGenius 4.0s and 5 BG Elementals from Cotton Babies while they were onsale this past summer. The 4.0s were Buy 6 for $86.90, and the 5 elementals cost $95. In total, mom and I spent $442.60 on the 31 diapers. 

We also purchased cloth diaper wipes - 5 packages of 12 for $12 each - so $60 on cloth wipes. 

Half my newborn stash
I wanted to switch to cloth diapers this week. However, our 4.0s are still too big. Liam has skinny legs and the diapers are super bulky. Jason and I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the BumGenius Newborn diapers. Cotton Babies sells them in a 24 pack for $280. I got them all washed today and dried and we've made the switch. Liam is now over 9 pounds and the NB diapers are good up to 12 pounds. 

Newborn diapers are a big splurge and I wish I would have done it two weeks ago. However, they are worth the price, especially if used for two children and if properly cared for, have excellent resale potential.

Along with the cloth diapers comes the purchase of cloth diaper wet bags. BumGenius only just started making them. The best bags (rated best by random internet people at least...) are Planet Wise bags. They have a variety of sizes and patterns. I purchased 2 pail liners ($15 each), 2 large hanging dry/wet bags ($30/each), and 2 medium sized bags ($17 each). So $124 on bags. Wet bags are the most expensive part of cloth diapering.

So in total:
$60 Wipes
$125 Wet Bags
$443 BG 4.0s Diapers
$280 BG Newborn Diapers

Grand total of $908 to cloth diaper my child. At least this is savings of over $1,500 from using disposables. And if we decide to have another child, it's even more savings. And hopefully I can resell everything when I am done having kids.

Reduction of Waste
In general I think about landfills and wonder where in 100 years people will be putting their trash, but I know I can't reduce the landfill waste being created. A lot of Americans are wasteful and won't try to reduce the waste they send to the landfills. I am more concerned about the trash I create at home. I make sure to recycle and want to limit what trash I throw away. At least with cloth diapers I can reduce my trash footprint a little more.  

Also, the production of disposable diapers and the chemicals used during the manufacturing process create waste - chemical waste - which also must be disposed of. 

Chemical/Allergy/Diaper Rash
My brother, sister, and I were all cloth diaper babies because we were allergic to disposable. Sensitive little bums. 

Using disposable wipes and diapers introduces a lot of unnecessary chemicals to an infant that can harm them. The absorbency of cloth diapers isn't just cotton - it's a chemical in the cotton that aids with the absorbency. This chemical also produces a reaction with urine that can cause a rash. 

Cloth diapers mom will tell you they very rarely have diaper rash. When a child has diaper rash, there are a lot of creams (more chemicals) you can put on that rash to help heal it. At some point, I'll post about the natural diaper rash remedies.