Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh, loves (6)

It's WEDNESDAY.  Half-way through the work week.  Heck Yeah!  Once again we're linking up with Jamie to tell you what we're loving.  So, here goes:

[1] Babies that are on the mend.  It's taken about a week, but we're finally starting to see our smiley, happy babies again.  There's still some coughing and runny noses, but let's hope that clears up soon.

[2] Great husbands.  We've got some pretty great dudes who are great dads and awesome husbands.  They've been working over-time lately between sick kiddos and busy mommas.

[3] More Pinterest recipes! With some friends in town earlier this month it was the perfect opportunity to try these hash brown-egg bakes! We altered the original recipe and added a layer of veggies- yum!
Press shredded hash browns into greased muffin tin. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until edges start to brown. Remove from oven then....

Sprinkle chopped veggies and more cheese on top of baked hashbrown cups. Crack an egg on top and sprinkle with a bit more cheese. Pop back in oven until egg is desired consistency.

You can see we made one pan of plain cheesy hashbrown cups, and the other with egg and veggies (or just veggies!).

[4] SNOW DAY.  Yay for an extra day with my crazy little girl!

What are you loving this week??

Oh, and did we mention we'll have our first giveaway coming up sometime soon?  Become a follower so you can be in the game!
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nice to meet you (5)

If you're reading, you may be trying to figure out just who 'we' are.

See, there are two of us because it would be tough to work full time, be a momma, a wife, working on a master's/doctorate and still blog regularly.  We're Natalie and Erin and we met on a blind date.  True story.

In fact, one of our mutual friends insisted we meet after finding out that Natalie was moving to Erin's hometown (where Erin would soon be returning to).  We met for coffee at Roast and Toast (a favorite local establishment) and chatted for a few hours.  And that was it.  We were instantly buddies.

Soon enough, Natalie got pregnant and 6 months later, Erin got pregnant.  Naturally, we talk frequently about babies, family, working, and balance.  And since we think that some of what we come up with is pretty good, we figured we'd share it with you. And, sometimes, we know we have none of the answers, we figured you might be able to provide them.

Now, here's a little bit about each of us...

I'm a small town girl who moved back to my hometown almost two years ago.  I met my husband when we were both living in East Lansing and talked him into moving to northern Michigan (or simply took him to our cottage where he could boat, jet ski, kayak and then had my dad take him hunting, snowshoeing, etc).  Needless to say, my outdoorsy hubs was easy to convince to move to a smaller town where we were surrounded by my family.  We are blessed to be parents to our sweet girl, Liza who was born in September.  But, she's technically our second 'baby'.  Our first is Whitney - our 11 year old black lab.  As for work, I'm a teacher...but in a slightly different setting.  I teach one hour a day, and spend the rest of my day helping other teachers incorporate technology into their lesson plans.  It's pretty fantastic.  I get to play on iPads and see the amazing things that teachers and students can do with them!  In our down time, we LOVE to be outdoors or playing volleyball.  Liza's already been hiking quite a few times and we're training her to be a lefthanded setter...kidding (kind of). In the warmer months (aka June-August), we spend tons of time at my family's cottage, so we're hoping Liza likes to swim and go for boat rides!

I'm a city girl at heart, although I'm beginning to love life in a small town.We have a house full of love-- in addition to our (almost) 9 month old, Connor, we have two cats, Walter and Stanley, (they're half-brothers), and a 2 year old, very much still acts like a puppy, yellow lab, Harvey. I'm a social worker, and work full-time in addition to working to finish my PhD in the next year. If you re-read that previous sentence, you probably won't be surprised to learn that any hobbies are currently on hold as I try to finish school, and spend as much time with my hubby, C, and our four legged friends. In the summer, this involves a nightly evening walk along the waterfront and weekends at the family cottage. In the winter, it involves snow-shoeing and the continual quest to empty our DVR.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Sick Day (4)

Happy Monday! I'm home again with a sick kiddo today. RSV hit our daycare hard, and C will be out all week. Thankful for my amazing mother-in-law who is coming to the rescue tomorrow so I don't have to burn through the rest of my time off! I was home with him last week on Thursday, daddy took Friday duty, and he wouldn't let me set him down. Poor little guy needed his mama, and I was happy to provide a day o' snuggles! Today, he is still coughing but seems to be feeling a little better.  It's amazing what I was able to get done while he's been napping:
2 loads of laundry
change sheets in guest room
prep 3 dinners this week
answer work emails
balance checkbook

Uber-productivity, all before noon! Not to mention  the fact that I get to enjoy extra snuggles with this sweet face all day:

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hello, my name is Erin and I am addicted to Pinterest (3)

I started drinking the Pinterest koolaid this past summer. I would look up from my computer and realize hours had passed. Now, I wake up to nurse Liza at 3AM and find the latest in overly decadent desserts, the latest fashion trends, and the coolest project that I just have to do.  But the worst part? I'm really good at pinning...just not the actual doing part.

Until lately.  I can't tell you that I've finally done those sewing projects or taken a bizillion pictures of my child according to expert photogs.  But, I'm definitely trying out the recipes. 

Enter crockpot buffalo chicken.  Three ingredients, no prep work, in the crockpot.  Sold.

So I started with that recipe and threw in 3 pounds of chicken, a bottle of Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce, and a packet of ranch dressing mix.  I let it hang out on low for 6 hours, shredded it and then mixed it back in for another hour or so.  It was good.  But I wasn't sure I wanted to make buffalo chicken sandwiches...which may have partly been due to the fact that I had mixed some of the chicken with some cream cheese and shredded cheese to make our favorite buffalo chicken dip.

Back to pinterest.  That's where I saw the recipe for buffalo chicken mac and cheese.  Uh hello, yes please.

It was a.w.e.s.o.m.e.  AMAZINGLY awesome.  Even leftovers were outta this world.  And it's healthy because I used whole wheat pasta.  Ok...not totally healthy, but better than if I would've used regular pasta, right?? 

*Warning: this picture does not even come close to doing this dish justice...but it was dark out and we were hungry!*

Here's what you'll need:
1 lb. whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
2 cups buffalo chicken mixture
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (grate this before, don't use the pre-packaged's horrible for melting)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper

Here's what you do:
[1] Preheat oven to 375.
[2] Start water to boil for pasta.  Cook pasta 1 minute shy of recommended cooking time.
[3] While doing that, melt butter in a saucepan.  Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour.  Continue whisking until the mixture turns a golden, almost brown, color.
[4]  Pat yourself on the back.  You just made a roux.  Feeling pretty fancy schmancy, aren't ya?
[5] Then, add milk and continue to stir until sauce thickens.  Then add salt and pepper to taste and the garlic powder.  Next, mix in the shredded cheese. 
[6] Mix the buffalo chicken mixture in with the sauce mixture.  Then, add to the pasta. 
[7] Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread pasta and sauce mixture.  Top with parmesan cheese and then breadcrumbs. 
[8] Bake for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is gooey and delicious!

This recipe wasn't quite spicy enough for JW.  So if you like food spiiiiiicy, add some more hot sauce to the cheese sauce mixture before you mix in the shredded cheese. 

Anybody else actually following through on something they've pinned??  We'd love to hear about your latest pinterest project or recipe!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Mom Uniform...the "mom-iform"? (2)

TGIF! Red wine in hand (loving Malbecs lately) + sick kiddo finally asleep = time for post 2 of the 40 in 40!

As a a mom, you can surely relate to this one:  You come home from work or wake up on the weekend and browse through your clothing. Sure there are jeans and cute tops, but if you're anything like us, you'll instantly gravitate toward your yoga pants, a cami, and a comfy sweater or sweatshirt. I mean, who would want to put on pants that require zipping, buttoning, or even *gasp* a belt? ESPECIALLY, when those last few pounds of baby weight continue to linger and nursing makes your formerly buxom breasts shift from deflated balloons to porn star wanna-be's, and back again.

We know that moms everywhere are rejoicing over the current "yoga-chic" and leggings trends, we are too! Here are a few of our current "Mom-iform" staples:

Old Navy Yoga Pants: They come LONG, which is perfect for tall gals like us. Have we mentioned we top out the charts at nearly 6 feet? We bonded over talk of inseams, I kid you not. A front seam and fabulous panel to help disguise those lingering baby pounds and we're sold.

An long, open cardigan like this Mossimo Cocoon Sweater is a new mom staple too. Bonus: makes access to mid day nursing sessions even easier. Pair with leggings and some boots and look cute AND comfy.

Speaking of boots, HUNTER boots are p.h.e.n.o.m. Legit. (as in, legitimately phenomenal). Not to mention all of the cute linings you can buy to spice things up. Check them out:

Finally, check out the Patagonia Half Mass bag. We bought this before Connor was born instead of a diaper bag. We're loving all the pockets, including an exterior pocket that's the perfect size for a bottle, and a front zipper pocket to store a spare pacifier (or, as we call them in our house a "goonie". Their return and repair policy is AWESOME, plus it comes in a multitude of fun colors too!

These are just a few key "mom-iform" peices. What can't you live without? What do you throw on after work or on a lazy Saturday?
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40 Posts in 40 Days!

During one of our many conversations on how to be the best mom, wife, cook, housekeeper, and employee, ever (aka, wonder woman),  we had the great idea to create a blog together. We've figured out some ways to make the life of a working mom a little easier (eg. Freezer Meals are our BEST friends), but thought it would be great to have a resource for other moms facing the same daily routine. We each had many blogs we loved, but the majority were written by stay at home moms.  We are very "pro-mom", whether you work within the home or work outside of it and don't get us wrong, we know that is a full-time job and and SAHM's are "working mom's" too, but there are challenges that are unique to working outside of the home. Challenges that we wanted a forum to discuss, thus, BEING WONDER WOMEN was born.

We admit, we've been slacking. It is hard to find the time to blog, so we've decided rather than giving something up for Lent this year, we're going to post 40 times in 40 days! We have some topics ready to go, but we'd love to hear from you on topics near and dear to your working mama heart. We'd also love some guest bloggers, so shoot us an email!

PS. It might be cheating, but this post is #1!
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What We're Loving Wednesday.

It's been a busy few weeks, but we're BACK!  And we're linking up with Jamie to share what we can't get enough of this week..

[1] Connor is CRAWLING!!  Hooray C! It wasn't until a toddler in daycare dropped a Cheerio that he decided to finally make his move. That's my kid---food-driven, like a puppy. Fortunately, we have the most fantastic day care providers, e.v.e.r, so they took video and sent it to me. Needless to say, when we got home we watched him crawl along the "Hansel and Gretel-esque" path of puffs through the house.

[2] Monday was a day off for JW and I.  We christened our BOB stroller since it was so nice and sunny out.  Liza was a happy camper!

Snug as a bug!

[3] The feeling when you accomplish something big or check off that one lurking item on your to-do list.
-Erin's: Successfully planning and hosting a Professional Development Day for our entire school staff (about 100 people) last Friday!
-Natalie's: Can't check it off yet but I'm this close to submitting my dissertation proposal draft to my advisor. If only there were 25 hours in the day..... I did, however, finally get a haircut. This may not be a big deal to many people, but I had been putting this off for about 4 months. Lunch-hour productivity at its finest!

[4] Actually doing something with all our Pinterest finds...a new recipe post coming soon!

[5] Melty, just out of the oven chocolate chip cookies.  Yummmmmmmmmmmm. (note from Natalie to Erin, "Keep me the battle of choc. chip cookies v. Natalie's willpower, I always lose. Always.")
What are you loving this week??
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Chocolate Marshmallow Crispy Brownies

Yesterday I was in a crunch to make a dessert for the family dinner we were hosting. I started paging through the cookbook I made a few years ago (courtesy of Tastebook) and saw the recipe for layered brownies. These yummy treats are from a colleague I used to teach with. His wife would make them when we had our lunchtime potlucks. Soooooo good. They're even better on a summer day at the end of the dock, but it'll be awhile till we can do that.

You should probably make these today. Or tomorrow...or even this weekend. Because they are super easy and oh so yummy!

Here's what you need:
1 brownie mix (make sure it makes a 9x13 pan)
1 jar marshmallow fluff
1 package (2 cups) chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 'generous' cups rice krispies

Here's what to do:
1. Make the brownie mix according to the box. Undercook by 1-2 minutes.
2. Once brownies are cooled, top with jar if marshmallow fluff *so much easier when you heat up the fluff in the micro, but be careful!*
3. Mix the PB and the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 second increments stirring till melted. Add the rice krispies and stir. Carefully spread over top of the marshmallow fluff.
4. Put in the fridge to cool and set up!
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