Eliana is Four Months Old!!!!

Daddy's Girl

Ohhh, this sweet baby!  She is so much fun and has the best faces ever!  If I had the time, I don’t think I’d stop staring at her cute lil’ face all day long!  I love her adorable round head and “elf” ears.  Seriously.  So.  Cute.

SmileySmiles!

This little pumpkin is weighing 13 pounds 3 1/2 ounces.  Elly has been nursing around 7 or 8 times a day and still enjoys her 3 naps.  Mornings usually begin at 7 a.m. and bedtime is around 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. depending on her last nap of the day.  She still fits a few of her 3 – 6 month outfits, but mostly wears 6 month clothes now.

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She’s been continuing to sleep really well through the night, although she’s been waking up closer to 6 a.m. for a morning feeding the last week or so.  She’s just so tiny when she’s asleep!  I can’t stop kissing and squeezing her!  The “fake sleep” face is still one of my favs.

Sleepy Babe

Silly Sleeper

Elly is following the trend of my previous two girls and enjoys being really loud at times.  When she gets started on an important chat session, watch out!

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Little lady hasn’t rolled over yet, but she enjoys rolling to her side and playing with her toys.  She’s been getting really into our toy syrup bottle (lid is part of the toy and doesn’t actually come off, so don’t panic) just like her big sister, Evie, used to.

Oh Bananas

Syrup

Standing up is Elly’s favorite right now.  She keeps her legs so stiff when she stands up that I can kind of make her walk around while holding her hands which I personally find hilarious.

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What the big sisters do, the little sister wants to do too!  Apples, apples, everywhere!  She loves when I slice straight down around a core and then let her chew on it.

Apples!

Hanging out outside is usually lots of fun!

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It can be very bright out there at times.

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Sunflower 1

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Tummy time is fun for longer periods of time now, although when she’s done she’s done.

Boppy 1

Boppy 3

Boppy 4

Boppy 5

I think we have a little hair starting to grow in, folks!

Pretty in Pink

Elly’s face can go from a complete expressionless look to the biggest grin ever in a split second.  I think it’s super funny.  The Bumbo can be pretty serious business some days.

Bumbo 1Bumbo

Bouncer 3

Her concerned face is too good to miss…..

Life Concerns

Big sister, Abby, is always wanting a turn to hold the babies.  Nothing will make Elly look way too big already faster than that. 😦

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Baby Sister

Elly and Evie have been pretty good buds lately too. ❤

Evie and Elle 2

Evie and Elle 1

Look at this troublesome trio!  It’s a good thing they’re cute. haha

Sisters

I was talking to one of my sisters the other day and commenting on how interesting it is that I perceive my looks very poorly and struggle to accept compliments from others as sincere, but when it comes to my kids I have none of that!  To be honest, I think they are off the charts adorable!  I think the best compliment you can give me is to say they resemble me in some way because they’re JUST SO ADORABLE.  I mean, just look at this baby.  She can’t be any cuter, can she?!

New Clothes

New Cloths

Eliana is definitely in the “fascinated by my hands” stage.  It’s hard to get a picture where she isn’t looking at or chewing on them lately!

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Scale 1

Oh, and putting a dress on Eliana is pretty much giving her easy access to a fun chew toy.  She looks adorable before she’s so coated in drool I have to change her though, so it’s worth it. 🙂

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Sweet Face 3

Nummy

Sweet Baby Elle is usually such a happy girl.  She loves all the action around and we all love hearing her burst out laughing!  She is so much fun.  She has been enjoying listening to books more too!

Happy

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Happy 1

Our little monkey loves hanging out in her K ‘tan.  Facing out is her favorite!

K 'tanDad Life

What happens when you have Daddy watch the baby for a few minutes…..

Nap Time

Snuggle Time is my favorite time.

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Our sweet, happy little baby!  We love you forever!

Baby Face

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Well hi

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Lovely Lasagna

Traditional Lasagna

I like lasagna because it makes a giant pan and lasts for a couple meals.  My oldest thinks I’m out to get her when I make this, because apparently making someone eat noodles smothered in delicious sauce, savory sausage, and gooey cheese is unkind.  *sigh*  Can’t win ’em all!  In spite of her opinion, trust me when I say this recipe is pretty amazing.  I think the sausage is what makes it taste one step above most lasagnas I’ve sampled.  I changed it up a tad, but thanks to Taste of Home for this one!

Lovely LasagnaLasagna

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 3 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce + 3/4 can water
  • 2 cans (6 oz each) tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cups (32 oz) 4% small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 10 lasagna noodles cooked/drained
  • shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese

I usually start by getting my noodles cooking.  Then, brown your meats together.  Once they are browned, add in tomato sauce + water, tomato paste, garlic, and seasonings.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until it’s the consistency you want.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs.  Mix in oregano, cottage cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Preheat your oven to 375.

I don’t like spending an hour making fifty cute layers with lasagna, so I do the minimal.  If layering is your thing, feel free to spend the time making it cute.  I dump half the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking dish.  I halve the noodles and layer half of them around on top of the meat.  Dump half the cheese mixture on top of that and spread it around with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle cheddar and mozzarella on top of that (I didn’t measure what I used, but probably around 2 cups?).  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Cover with aluminum foil and pop in the oven for 50 minutes.  Uncover and bake about 15 more minutes or cheese starts to brown on top.

The Best Lasagna

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Tug Fest Run

Around here there is a Tug Fest every year where two teams, the Iowa team and the Illinois team have a tug of war contest across the Mississippi.  There are a variety of activities surrounding this event.  The Tug Fest Run is one of those.  I’ve been trying to find more one mile races around, but most of them are kid centered because normal adults run 5K or longer. haha  Anyway, I decided to run this race along with a bunch of children just because, but our 3 year old really wanted to race with me.  Turns out, her excitement was too much for me and I decided to slow jog it with her instead.  She held my hand most of the time, but I did convince her to try running next to me for part of it.  She gets a little nervous in crowds and apparently didn’t trust me not to bolt and leave her in the dust.  Here we are before the race.

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I was pretty proud of her as she ran the whole way, stopping for a very quick sip of water at the halfway point.  She beat her last mile time by a little over a minute!  She ran right around a 12:30 mile.  She got a bit tired about 4/5 of the way through, but pushed through it and did awesome!  It looked like she was the youngest one out there, but she certainly wasn’t last! 🙂  After the race….

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All (children – boo) participants got a water bottle from Happy Joes filled with coupons, candy, a toy, and a running medal.  Abs was pretty excited about that, but gave me her goofy smirky prune face instead of a smile.  She’s been a twerp with pictures lately.  She wants to be in every one, but kind of forgot how to smile for the camera. ha!

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Some people have been wondering how my running is going.  I think it’s been successful since, after all, it is still going.  I have been running a mile every night (Friday is my night off and I look forward to it allllllll week).  My (runner) sister and her hubby helped me do some roll it out thing to stretch something that was causing me some pretty rough knee pain.  I know I’m being very descriptive here, but I can’t remember what they called it.  Regardless, it has helped a lot and my knees very rarely give me pain anymore!  That is great, but I still don’t like to run. haha  I do it for the workout, the good feeling afterwards, and mostly the weight loss.  I’m down 13 lb since I started running a few months ago.  It feels like slow progress to me, but I am glad it’s happening!  I’ve been feeling better about myself and am excited to lose 9 more pounds and hit my goal weight!  If that happens, I will start cutting out running if possible. hahaha!  I’ve only had my beloved ice cream on three occasions, helped eat one batch of brownies, and am trying to overall snack on fruits and eat less at meal times.  I also still drink my keifer and enjoy my bedtime bowl of popcorn (popcorn popper style – microwave tastes nasty, and I’m liking the non oily popper vs. stove kind).  If the pounds get harder to lose, I will probably have to be even more careful foodwise, but since it’s working for me now, I’ll stick with the current routine.

My Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust

I love using whole wheat flour as much as the next health nut, but there are times in life when you really need to let taste triumph over nutrition.  This pizza crust is seriously delicious.  It’s fluffy, it’s tasty, and it’s honestly as good as restaurant crust.  I’ve had some people tell me they liked it even better!  Six Sister’s Stuff had this one for the win.  I add in some spices because I like seasoning!

Copycat Papa John's Pizza Crust Recipe

They called this a copycat Papa John’s recipe, but I think it tastes different – very good, but different.  This particular recipe makes enough dough for 3 pizzas, but I’ve had great success with one pizza using a third of everything.  It also works to make the whole batch and freeze two balls of dough.  Just make sure you stick it in the fridge the day before you want to use it.  Also, after rolling it out, let it rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes or you’ll get a thin crust pizza.  (Also tasty, if you like that!)

Pizza CrustPapa John's Pizza Crust Recipe

  • 8 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 3/4 teaspoons quick rising yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • olive oil

Combine your flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and seasonings in a large bowl.  Mix your water and oil together and stir it into your dry ingredients.  Use a large spoon to stir it around a little until it starts to ball up.  Dump it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (sprinkle a little more flour on as needed to keep it from sticking to you and the counter).  Ball it up and set it back in the large bowl.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rest for about 15 minutes.  I usually just set mine on the stove top next to one of the burners.  Then I use that burner to brown my sausage while the dough is resting.

Separate your dough into 3 even sections.  Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll each chunk of dough into a pizza.  Set on pizza pans and poke all over with a fork.  I think this helps the crust not to bubble up.  It also seems to help it cook nice and even.  Set your pizza pans with dough in a warm place and let them rise another 10-15 minutes.  During the waiting time, I like to prepare all of my toppings.  If you are dicing any veggies, browning meat, etc, this is a great time to get everything out and ready.

Preheat your oven to 425.  Drizzle olive oil all over the crust and spread it around with the back of a spoon.  This keeps the crust from burning.  Poke the crust in the oven and bake it for about 6 or 7 minutes.  Pull it out and dump it with sauce and toppings of choice.  Put it back in for another 10-15 minutes, depending how well done you like your pizza!  I usually do close to 12 minutes, which gets the top of the cheese nicely browned.  I tend to really pile the toppings on though, so if you make a lighter pizza yours might cook faster.  Easy peasy and delic.  This takes homemade pizza to a whole new level of goodness I’m pretty sure.