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Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekend Happenings, The Story of Austin (Part One), Easy and Delicious Lasagna (Pioneer Woman Style), Blog Linkage

Good Friday morning!

This time last week, I was getting ready to go to the mountains. Today, it is just a faint, distant memory.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Story of Austin - Part One - There are three parts to The Story of Austin, and since his birthday celebration is going to last well over a week, I'll be posting Parts Two and Three next Monday and Friday.

I knew something wasn't quite right. Mike and I were living in Cullman. I had quit my job as a legal secretary in Birmingham, and I was taking a few months off before finding another job. However, I had a feeling I might be expecting. So, I did the normal thing and bought a pregnancy test, only to be disappointed when it came back negative. Still feeling weird, I went another week and tried another pregnancy test. Negative. Another week passed and I actually went to my doctor and had a blood test. Negative. Another week... another pregnancy test... negative. One more week... another blood test... nega... OOPS! I mean POSITIVE! Yes! We were thrilled. When I asked the doctor why everything had been so negative, he told me I had a latent pregnancy hormone. It just didn't show up. "Okay, okay. How far along am I?" I asked.

"Well, by my calculations, you are ten weeks," he told me.

You would have to know me five seconds to realize I didn't take that news well. I am really into experiencing "firsts." First date, first kiss (even if it's on someone's nose), first car, first apartment, first month's anniversary, FIRST TRIMESTER! "You mean I only have two more weeks in my first trimester? That's it?" I asked incredulous.

"Well, actually from what I'm looking at... more like eight or nine more days."

"But, I didn't get to whine about being tired, or about my pants getting tight. And I've missed ten weeks of eating for two. I can't make that up!" My doctor didn't understand my reasoning, so I just let it go.

Mike and I had a great time driving to our parents' homes and telling them, and then stopping to tell some friends along the way. It was a joyous occasion.

Then we made the decision to try to live on one salary (his), with the remainder of my pregnancy being our practice time for this big step. Not the wisest decision we've ever made because I had nothing to keep me occupied except food.

Living in a new town away from family and friends, not working outside of the home, and trying to catch up for the first trimester of not eating for two soon came back to haunt me.

Every day at 3:00 sharp, I would head to Sneaky Pete's. Sam would have a hot dog smothered in sauerkraut and Sneaky Pete's sauce and a Coke ready and waiting. Of course, before I went for my 3:00 o'clock snack, I had eaten breakfast, lunch and a plastic bag of powdered doughnuts... every day. Boy, did Austin love and want those powdered doughnuts. (NOTE: Prior to pregnancy, I was very thin. I have pictures. A little too thin actually, so I was not very concerned with weight gain. It is not smart to NOT be concerned with weight gain!)

As I began going to the doctor during my second trimester, I was amazed how fast the baby was growing. Four pounds one visit, five or six the next. One time I even gained seven pounds. Wow. This was going to be a huge baby. Toward the end of my second trimester, my doctor sat down and had a talk with me. "You are going to have to slow down on your eating."

"I'm really not eating any differently than before I became pregnant. What do you think the problem could be if my eating habits are exactly the same?"

"It's caloric," came the slightly sarcastic reply.

"Oh. See? I knew it had to be something medical. Is that like a gland thing or something? Will it go away after I have the baby?" I was ready, willing and able to take a pill or whatever to solve this "caloric" thing.

"It means too many calories," the nurse whispered to me.

"Oh. Well, in that case. I'll just have to cut back a little," I replied, very offended. I waddled out the door and drove to Sneaky Pete's. Sam was expecting me since I always scheduled my doctor's appointments at 2:00 so I wouldn't be late for our 3:00 hot dog.

"I'm not going to be able to come in tomorrow, Sam. I'm having to cut back to four days a week because of some 'caloric' problems." Sam nodded knowingly. Was I the only person who had never heard that word before?

Mike and I had decided not to find out the sex of the baby. It absolutely didn't matter to us one way or another. So imagine Mikie's surprise on the day we went to the doctor for our first ultrasound (which could tell us the sex of the baby), and I had a complete come-apart in the car. "I have to know. I have to know today."

"What are you talking about? It was your idea to wait until the baby was born. The nursery is yellow with teddy bears. It doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl."

I then began to sob. "If I don't find out today, I will just DIE!! I have to know."

Mike was completely caught off guard, and quickly agreed to let us find out. We walked into the doctor's office, I had my ultrasound and when the doctor asked if we wanted to find out the sex, I didn't even hesitate. "YES. I have to know... right now!"

"Well, it's a boy," he told us.

A boy. Yes. I had always loved little boys. I was thrilled. Mike was still in shock over the "Exorcist" scene that had played out on the drive over where my head had spun completely around, but he was excited about having a son, too.

Now, all we had to do was name him, and wait one more little trimester until he arrived. Piece of cake. Speaking of cake, we had some that night to celebrate our little man.

Part Two... bright and early Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #2 - A Mountain Picture Story - Part Two - As I told you Tuesday, this is just the "picture portion" of our trip. The unbelievably "wordy portion" of the trip will begin Monday morning.

You won't want to miss that part!

Please enjoy Part Two - Zac's 15th Birthday Celebration and Other Miscellaneous Mountain Stuff


Since the kids are determined to grow up, Bev and I have decided to make birthday celebrations more fun... for us. We use any kind of superhero or Disney character paper products we can find for "theme" birthday parties.

Since Zac is going to be getting his permit soon, Cars seemed to fit the bill perfectly.




Airsoft and Zac go together like peanut butter and jelly, so you might have guessed this was his favorite gift. In fact, he brought all of his airsoft paraphernalia to the mountains and the four male cousins had a good time shooting each other for a couple of hours after the party.


Everyone knows my camera is in my hand the entirety of any and all family trips. They also know it is better to smile and get it over with than argue. Thank you, Brad!


You have to be quick in our family to get the "long" couch. If you're too slow, you may end up like Josh.



Grandmother always wants to try for the ever-elusive Christmas Card Pic. We didn't do anything special this year for prep. We just told all of the grandkids to get on the porch... and it seems to have worked!


This is the ONLY picture of me from the trip. But it does prove I actually went, so we'll keep it for history's sake.


I love the sound of a cold creek in the mountains.


And I love this cute guy! His gray hair is so becoming!

Remember... the Mountain Stories will flow fast and furious Monday morning!

Blog Linkage

1. One of my favorite bloggers, Kelle Hampton, had a little boy (Dash) on Valentine's Day. Her birth stories are so well-written and sweet. If you're a baby stalker (like me), I think you're going to really enjoy today's post at www.kellehampton.com. Today's post is entitled "Welcoming Dash. A Birth Story."

2. If you are a St. Patrick's Day nut and you would like some cute printables to go along with your upcoming celebration, you will need to go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and read today's post entitled "It's Your Lucky Day. 50 Free Printables Coming Your Way."

Ideas GALORE!

3. If you feel the need to bake (and let's face is... who doesn't), go to Six Sisters' Stuff under My Blog List and find some excellent recipes under today's post entitled "50 Easy Cake Mix Recipes."

Easy and Delicious Lasagna

Okay. I watched The Pioneer Woman's cooking show from this past Saturday, and she made a lasagna which looked totally doable and fairly easy.

I tried it. We ALL liked it. I'm going to share it with you today!

You will need the following:

1 and 1/2 pound ground beef
1 pound hot breakfast sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 Ounce) whole tomatoes
2 cans (6 Ounce) tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 whole beaten eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1 package (10 Ounce) lasagna noodles
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pasta water

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; less if you’re feeling naughty. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.

3. In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly cooked).

4. Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.

5. Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.

6. Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days or bake immediately... 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

I've tried several different lasagna recipes over the last 50 years, and this is my favorite so far. When I make it again, I'll be doubling the recipe and putting one in the freezer.

Try it. I think you'll like it.


Layer One - Noodles...


Layer Two - Cottage Cheese Mixture...


Layer Three - Mozzarella Cheese Slices...


Layer Four - Meat!

Don't forget to repeat!

Weekend Happenings

The Boy is turning 22 tomorrow. How did that happen? Twenty-two years? Graduating from college in April? Making huge life plans which do not include me... his Maternal Unit?

I could get a little depressed if I didn't have so much birthday goodness planned!

Some things have changed from the original birthday plans, but since you didn't know the original birthday plans, this will all be news to you.

1. Saturday morning, I'm thinking a family breakfast at Original Pancake House to start the day off right. (Nothing starts a day like strawberry crepes and homemade whipped cream. That's just my opinion, but I'm pretty sure I'm 100 percent correct.) I think we'll let him open one gift at breakfast.

2. Saturday afternoon, The Boy and The Lovely Melia will be going to Huntsville for a belated Valentine's Day/Birthday celebration. A movie at the Monaco and dinner nearby will make this a great official birthday for Austin.

3. On Sunday, I will have his requested birthday meal PLUS his Refreshing Birthday Cake.

4. Since Josh's work schedule did not allow him to be off for Austin's originally-scheduled birthday party, we're going to re-schedule the Family Party for next Sunday, March 3. That will be when the cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles and major gift giving will occur.

I would love to tell you what we're giving him, but on occasion, The Boy does read the blog, and I want him to be surprised.

There are a few other happenings this busy birthday weekend.

Friday night, Mike and Roxie are heading out for their annual Father/Daughter February Steak Dinner. They spent about 30 minutes on the couch last night checking out new places and menus. I don't know what the final decision was, but they both seem pretty pumped.

Sunday, MamMa will be celebrating her 92nd birthday with a "drop-in" party. My Mom thought of this last year, and it really works well. Between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren drop in for a little visit, a little cake and a little gift giving.

It isn't overwhelming. It isn't an all-day affair. And she gets to visit a little more one-on-one with the groups and couples as they come and go.

Other than the fact Josh is working a lot Friday and Saturday, that is our weekend in a nutshell.

I predict it will be described as very "celebratory" in the days and weeks to come!

Have a delightful and festive weekend. I'll be back Monday morning with birthday "stuff," more mountain "stuff," recipe "stuff" and a story or two, I am sure.

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

1 comment:

  1. I think your MamMa is very smart with the idea of a drop in party. Can't wait to hear what you are giving Austin for his birthday. I too must have had a late hormone, I missed the complete 1st trimester. Believe me though, the second time around I knew myself better and enjoyed all of the pregnancy. Andrea in WA.

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