Friday, September 20, 2013

A Childhood Favorite With A New Spin

This post is sponsored by Pillsbury. Let the making begin with these other easy recipes: Easy Tacos, Chicken Pot Pie Puffs, and Mini Pizzas.
Growing up, we always had family dinner together. Most nights of the week, we would gather around the kitchen table, no TV, no phone (obviously this was before the days of cell phones!) to share a meal together and talk about our days. This is one of my favorite memories of growing up when I look back.

My Mom did a great job of keeping us all satisfied. When it came to cooking for six people, we never made it easy on her, and I am sure that it was challenging trying to stay creative in the kitchen, nevermind having some picky eaters in the house. But, there were a few things that were always a homerun in our house. One of these things was Pillsbury Grands Biscuits. Of course, there was the added bonus of the four of us kids fighting over the two 'extras' after each person had their share, but I'll just leave that part of the memory out.

Now that I have my own family to feed, I am always trying to stay creative in my own kitchen, but I love being able to fall back on a few fun staple items during busy weeks. Now that school is back in session, traffic has increased on B's commute, and we have a little guy on our hands, my time to create a culinary masterpiece in the kitchen each night has been cut down immensely, so having a few simple and quick go-to meals has become a necessity in our house.

One of my husband's favorite easy meals is tacos. So, when I found this recipe, I knew the marriage of taco night and Pillsbury Grands Biscuits would be a match made in heaven.

Easy Chicken Taco Melts (adapted from this original recipe)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

What You'll Need:

1lb. ground turkey, beef or chicken (we had purchased ground chicken instead of turkey by accident last week, but the chicken did fine!) 
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix
2/3 cup water 
1 1/2 cups Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa (optional - can sub 1/2 cup taco sauce)
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® biscuits 
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend (4 oz.)  
1 cup sour cream, if desired (other toppings based on your preferences)

What You'll Do:
In a medium saucepan, cook onion and ground chicken (meat) in a little EVOO. Once the meat is cooked through, drain it slightly, and add taco seasoning, water, 1/2 cup of the salsa, and cook until mixture begins to thicken.
Then, press each biscuit into 6-inch round. Spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese onto center of each round. Fold dough in half over filling; press to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 375°F 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with remaining salsa, cheese, guacamole and sour cream (or the toppings of your choice). 
This recipe was easy, fun and delicious. It added a fun twist to one of my childhood favorites and made taco night a little more exciting in my book!

For more quick, easy and great for school nights' recipes like this one, download the Pillsbury recipe book here.  
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gavin's 1-Month Update

How is my baby already over a MONTH old?! And more importantly, how am I already that Mom that posts her only child's one month update this late? Gavin is actually seven weeks old today, and when people tell you the time will fly by, they are right.

The last seven weeks have gone by in what feels like the blink of an eye. Was it really over seven weeks ago that I was obsessing over my impending induction? That feels like a distant memory, because once Gavin was here, our lives were completely changed.

I would be lying if I said the first two weeks weren't challenging. Once we were home from the hospital, the learning curve around here was steep. Gavin and I were still getting to know each other, he was nursing around the clock, I was recovering from my delivery and I learned quickly that I don't function all that well on very little sleep. There were tears, rolled eyes and long days, but Gavin has brought us so much joy. He is already growing into his little personality and he knows what he wants when he wants it (I wonder where he gets that?!).

Weight/Height: At his 1-month visit (he was just shy of 6 weeks old), Gavin weighed 10lbs. 13oz. and was 22 1/4 inches long. That means he gained 3lbs. 8 ounces since his 1-week visit and grew 2 1/4 inches since birth! He is definitely growing quickly! His cheeks are filling out and he's getting a double chin and thigh rolls. Love.

Hair & Eyes: Gavin's hair is still a light brown color. When the sun hits it, it almost has a strawberry tint to it in certain spots. He started losing some hair on the top of his head at about 4 weeks (see below), but it is now coming back in and getting longer on top and towards the back. His eyes are still a cross between blue and hazel. B has blue eyes and mine are hazel, so I am anxious to see which one of us he ends up taking after!

Diapers: He was wearing newborn diapers for the first 2.5-3 weeks, and then transitioned to size 1's after a few blowouts. We were given lot of Pampers Swaddlers as gifts, and I have been happy with them, so we are using exclusively Swaddlers as well as Pampers Sensitive wipes.

Clothes: Again, Gavin was in newborn outfits and pajamas for the first three weeks. I actually had to go out and buy him more PJs because we were seriously lacking in that department. Around three weeks old, he switched over to 0-3 pajamas, and is now in all 0-3 clothes and even some 3 month stuff. Children's Place 0-3 PJs are starting to get a little snug, he is in 3 month Carter's, and 0-3 Baby Gap is still a little big on him, depending on the outfit.

Eating: I was feeding him on demand for the first five weeks or so. He was eating about every 2.5 hours, but when he napped, he would go closer to 4 hours between. I feed him once during the night, and we typically start our day with the first feeding between 7-7:30AM. Once he turned six weeks, and I knew he was just about 11 pounds, we have started trying to establish a daytime routine. I have been researching 12 Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks and Moms On Call to determine what works best for us. We are still learning! As of this week, he is eating every 3.5-4 hours during the day, and once overnight.

Sleeping: I hate to even talk about his sleeping patterns, because I know once I say something positive about him, it will come back to bite me. But, my instincts tell me that Gavin is a good sleeper. Once he is really sleeping, he is down for the count and would nap for 3.5-4 hours if we let him. As of this week, he is taking a 1-2 hour nap around 8AM (an hour after his first feeding started) and then another 1-2 hour nap around noon. He usually gets fussy and catnaps around 4:30-5 and then we bathe him and feed him between 6-7PM. He is also becoming an early to bed type of guy, and has gone to bed between 7-8PM lately.

Milestones: We have both reached milestones over the last several weeks. Gavin is now napping in his crib every day (hooray!) and we have been putting him to bed at night in his crib as well. This Momma is still bringing him in our room into the mini Pack-N-Play to sleep once we go to bed, but he loves his crib and I know it is probably time for me to let him stay in there all night and see how that goes. I know it will be a bit of an adjustment for me, since I won't be able to peek in at him as easily, but I will adjust and I think B and I are ready to have our room back to ourselves. I am hoping to at least try it out by the time he hits eight weeks. 

Gavin started rolling over from belly to back during tummy time at just about three weeks. I was shocked to see him do it, but he loves it and will barely stay on his tummy during tummy time anymore. He is also starting to smile, coo and even laugh a little so much more, and seeing and hearing him so happy is my absolute favorite thing right now.

He also went on his first trip to the beach house in Fenwick Island and did so well that we ended up staying two extra days! He loves the car and almost always falls asleep once we get going. He has also been with Mommy to her two favorite place: the mall and Target. Our first Target trip went great, much to Daddy's dismay, so we plan to go back often!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A FALL-TASTIC Giveaway In Honor of Our FAVORITE Season!

Without a doubt, fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I look forward to the start of football (and Pumpkin Spice Latte) season each year as the summer begins to wind down. While everyone is mourning the loss of the summer heat and humidity, I am always excited for crisper air, long sleeves, football Sundays and opening up the windows in my house for a change!

This summer had me looking forward to fall even more than usual. I had dreams of dressing Gavin in long-sleeved rompers, taking him to the pumpkin patch and the Starbucks drive-thru, and of course he already has a collection of NFL gear. This week marks the official beginning of the NFL football season, and with it comes so many exciting ways to make memories as we adventure our way through his first year together.

My bestie, Aliya, is just like me in that she looks forward to fall all year long as well. So, we decided to put together another giveaway since our last one went so well!  This week, we're kicking off our FALL-TASTIC giveaway chock full of some of our favorite goodies for our favorite season! One lucky winner will walk away with all things fun and fall-ish, orange, brown and pumpkin-y! 

These items include the following ...
  • One (1) Pumpkin Orange Fringe Scarf
  • Two (2!) Fall Themed Prints from Jessica Garvin at J & Paper!
  • One (1) bottle of OPI's 'You Don't Know Jaques'
  • One (1) Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Cupcake Scented Candle
  • One (1) Bottle of Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Scented Foaming Hand Soap
  • One (1) Pack of 25 Fall Colored Paper Straws thanks to Sarah at Sprinkled Joy!
  • One (1) $10 Starbucks Gift Card (obviously!)

How is that for some awesome fall stuff! I wish I could win!

So, how do you enter? Simple! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win! Follow Double the Fun and Our Love Nest and simply "like" our Facebook Pages here and here! In addition to that, get extra entries by liking Sprinkled Joy or Little Baby Garvin Blog on Facebook. You can also tweet, share and pin the giveaway or follow Aliya or I on Instagram for even MORE entries! That's 21 total chances to win! Good Luck! And Happy Fall :)

 This giveaway kicks off today, Thursday, September 5th and will be open through Friday, September 20th. One winner will be selected at random using Rafflecopter and announced on Monday, September 23rd!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Give A Minute, Help Make-A-Wish with Straight Talk Wireless

We have all heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and everything that they do to help make the dreams of sick children come true. I have watched so many stories on ESPN about kids that get to meet their all-time favorite football player, get their very own signed jersey, and even get to play a round of catch with the MVP. And now, we can do something to help just like ESPN does. Every Saturday in September, Straight Talk Wireless will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for each person that visits their participating local Walmart and takes a minute to learn more about Straight Talk. Straight Talk will donate a minimum of $500,000 to Make-A-Wish and up to $1,000,000!! 

But, not everyone lives near a Walmart! So, from now until September 28when you share the video on, Straight Talk will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish®, up to $100,000 (one donation per viewer, per day) towards their $1,000,000 goal. It's fast, easy and worth every second! 

This is the second year in a row that Straight Talk will be hosting this program. Last year’s program was very successful, reaching its $1,000,000 donation mark! Straight Talk believes there is nothing greater than granting a sick child’s wish. They are thrilled to be able to be part of making that happen again this year.

What is Straight Talk, you may be asking? Simple! Straight Talk is a service provided by TracFone Wireless Inc., America’s largest no-contract cell phone provider in the U.S. Straight Talk partners with existing wireless networks nationwide to provide no-contract wireless phone service. Straight Talk is available exclusively at Walmart and the cost savings of not having to maintain stores is passed directly on to customers. Straight Talk has all of the same great phones as the contract carries, including name brands like Samsung, Apple, Windows and LG. 

Thanks to Straight Talk Wireless, we can do our part to help make the dreams of sick children come true. Now that I'm a Mom, Make-A-Wish means even more to me, and I am happy to do anything I can to contribute to the cause. So share that video, and make sure to pop into your local Walmart (if you have one!) at least once between now and September 28th!  


I participated in this sponsored campaign for One2One Network. I received monetary compensation, but all opinions stated are solely my own.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gavin's Birth Story. FINALLY.

Well, I'm finally sitting down to write Gavin's birth story out. The truth is, I have been meaning to do this for weeks now, and I even took lots of notes in my pregnancy journal in the days after his birth about all of the details of our story, but alas, as I sit here writing it out, I am at our family beach house with no book or notes. So, this will be my best account from memory. 

If you followed along with my pregnancy journey, or follow me on Instagram, you already know that Gavin intended to give us a run for our money all along, and although his Momma predicted he would make an early arrival, he ended up coming via induction eight days late.

The story began at my 38 week appointment. After getting my first internal exam, the doctor told me I was 1cm dilated, and that was it. At the time, I thought that some progress was better than no progress, and assumed that things would change by the next week. Well, two 'sweeps' and two weeks later, at my 40 week/full term appointment, the only thing that had changed was that I had reached about 50% effacement. The doctor set an induction date for me, the following week on Tuesday evening, when I would be 'officially' 41 weeks, and I left the office feeling deflated. What is it about delivering late that makes a woman feel as though her body is doing something 'wrong?' 

I tried almost everything that week. Long walks, spicy dinners, extra stairs, and a few other things that I won't name here. Nothing seemed to be working. As the days went by, we got closer to the dreaded 'induction day.' I will admit, it was the longest week of. my. life. Each day felt more like a week as I sat around hot, uncomfortable and lazy, just racking my brain and wondering if any of the symptoms I was feeling/having meant the big event would come early. 

Once we got to Sunday (two days before the scheduled induction), I had all but given up on going into labor on my own, so I just did my best to relax and enjoy my husband, knowing an end was in sight. 

The morning of my scheduled induction and hospital check-in I went back to my OB for one final ultrasound and a non-stress test to monitor the baby and any contractions I may be having. I was hooked up to the monitor for about 25 minutes, and after the nurse left the room, it started picking up contractions right away. But, these 'contractions' were the 'strong Braxton Hicks' I had been feeling for a week now. The doctor came in after the test was completed, checked me one more time and did my second sweep, and then sent me on my way and told me the plan was still intact. Check in to the hospital tonight at 6PM for Cervadil, followed by a Pitocin induction Wednesday morning. 

The following six hours were a roller coaster of nerves, excitement, preparation... and more nerves. 

We ended up checking in around 7:30PM because of a short delay. Once we were in the room, I got hooked back up to monitors, and they started a fluid line. And we waited. And waited. We had five nurses between 7PM and 7AM. The doctor that was on the night shift decided not to give me the Cervadil because I was contracting enough on my own, so they started the Pitocin early. 

I was only on the lowest dose (a 2) for the first few hours, and then some time late that night, after B had fallen asleep, they switched the level up to a 4. At that point, I was feeling tired enough to try and get some sleep, so I rolled over onto my right side and closed my eyes. Within ten minutes, my nurse came in and told me they noticed decels in the baby's heart rate, and asked me to roll back onto my left side to see if that helped. Ten to twenty minutes later, and the nurse was back in, rolling me onto my back and passing me the oxygen mask because his heart rate was still low. My poor husband woke up to me wearing an oxygen mask and being poked by a nurse and doctor at about 1AM. They decided to give me a break from the Pitocin for the rest of the night, and just left me to get some rest until about 5AM.

When the new doctor came on for the morning shift, she decided to turn the Pitocin back on (since his heart rate had been great the rest of the night), and wanted my new nurse to up the level every 20-30 minutes. So, I was on a continual dose of Pitocin starting shortly after 5AM. When they checked me around 10:30 that morning my doctor suggested breaking my water within the next few hours as long as I was between 2-3cm dilated, which I was. They broke my water at 12:30PM. Up to this point, I had not gotten my epidural, and I was contracting pretty regularly, but I was not in any pain. The contractions still felt like strong, tightening Braxton Hicks for the most part. I could feel them coming and going, but they were not painful. 

Once my water was broken, my contractions started coming closer together and got much more intense very quickly. Luckily, I had told my nurse that I wanted the epidural, so they were working on getting that started. I got my epidural by 2:30PM, and it was amazing. Honestly, I only had about one hour of what I would call 'hard labor' before it kicked in, but it worked great for us, and I was thankful and able to rest.

Around 4PM, my nurse checked me again (I had dilated to between 4-5cm by the time I got the epidural), and I was 10cm and ready to go. We were surprised! We thought for sure we had a few more hours to wait after how slowly things have moved up until then. That first hour was a total whirlwind. My nurse (who we had all day and was there for Gavin's birth) was amazing. She had me start practice pushing around 4:30, and suggested that it would probably be a few hours until he was born since my epi was fresh and it was my first baby. 

All in all, I only pushed about twenty times total between 4:30 and 7:11PM when he was born. Since I was comfortable, they had me rest for 20-30 minutes at a time in between a few pushes. Once I started to feel a little bit of pressure, he was born within 30 minutes. I only pushed four times once the doctor came in. And, to top it off, my favorite doctor from my OB practice came on for the night shift right before Gavin was born. 

So, although the entire thing took just about 24 hours, it felt much quicker. My labor and delivery were much easier and more enjoyable than I thought they would be, and I feel so lucky to have had the experience and the medical care that I received. 

Gavin was born on Wednesday, July 31st at 7:11PM, weighing in at 7lbs. 8oz. and measuring 20 inches long. He was the perfect size, in my opinion, and I think the very first thing I said to B was how much he looked just like him!

These last five weeks have been a total whirlwind. Some days have been long, and some short. There have been tears, smiles, laughs, frustrations, victories and failures, but most of all, there has been love. Lots of it. Gavin is such a joy, and once I got a hold of my exhaustion, we were able to fall into a bit of a routine (I use that term loosely) at home, and I am really feeling more confident in my role as a Mommy the last week or so.

I feel truly blessed to be able to spend every day with him, watching him change, grow and become his own little person. Motherhood is truly an amazing thing, and I thank God that He has blessed us so immensely.