How did my baby get to be six?

Sonja turned six last Sunday. We had a wild weekend with family, friends, food, and the all important cake! Seriously three different versions of cake to be exact: cake for school, cake for the family party, and finally I gave up and stopped baking and bought a cake at Sam’s for the friends party.

Six looks good on Sonja. She cut her hair into a cute little bob. She’s tall and slim but not too skinny and maintains her totally wacky fashion sense. She loves to run and play and shake her booty to make her friends laugh. But she also loves to learn and she absorbs things like a sponge. (I think all kids this age do, but having never had my own six-year-old, it’s something to behold.) She is turning into a great reader. And yesterday during her free choice period at school she drew a story. I love that she does stuff like that. I don’t know what I did during free choice in Kindergarten. I remember one time I stole a sheep from the play farm and I had to take it back to my teacher and apologize. So I’m thinking I wasn’t as productive as my own daughter.

As for me, I feel older. I feel sort of wiser. I feel like I survived the baby/toddler years and we’re entering a new phase. I feel like it’s that phase I’ve been waiting for where my kid sort of likes me until she hates me as a teenager. And I think, how have I been a mother for six years? There are few things short of breathing I’ve done for six years in my life. And despite feeling wiser when dealing with my second child, I don’t know that I’ve improved at mothering over the last six years. It all changes too much to get really good at it.

Now that Sonja is six we are finally, actually, going to implement a chore chart of some kind. She is more than capable of helping around the house. We also plan to give her a small (VERY small) allowance and start teaching her how to spend, save, and donate. We’ll see how that goes. I picture her buying a lot of My Little Pony crap and candy bars. But that’s ok right? It’s her money now.

So, Happy Birthday Sonja Begonia! You are my favorite oldest daughter.


Filling Up My Freezer

It’s no secret that the Ostmos struggle to put dinner on the table every night. Not in a financial way. (Thank goodness!) But in an “OMG-I-just-got-home-from-work-and-there-are-three-hungry-people-staring-at-me” sort of way. Also, at least a couple nights a week there is somewhere we need to be by 6:30 or 7:00 for extracurricular activities. And the baby needs to be in bed by 7:00-ish. And me, being the tired woman I am, usually throw a frozen pizza in the oven or an Eggo in the toaster.

I pinned a whole bunch of crock pot recipes to my “food” board on Pinterest. Then I started reading about slow cookers and freezing meals and I pinned more recipes. Then I went through what I had pinned and combined it with crock pot recipes I know my family likes  and printed a stack of recipes.

From there I made a massive grocery list. Then Sonja and I hit Fareway and my favorite place Aldi to get the cheapest food possible. I think I spent about $250 but that included other household stuff we needed like allergy medicine and beer. You know, the essentials.

When I returned home from my epic shopping trip, (seriously, I’ve never purchased so much meat at one time in my life), I laid out all my recipes I had printed and then sorted the groceries to go with each recipe. My kitchen table looked like this for about 24 hours:


And here’s my counter with all the MEATS and frozen veggies! (They didn’t sit out for 24 hours but I photographed them before putting them in the fridge) And yes, I did buy 18 chicken breasts:


When I finally had time on Saturday afternoon I just went recipe by recipe and made each one and took it to my freezer in the basement. It took me about five hours. My feet were killing me and every single mixing bowl, spatula, and frying pan I own were dirty. I had to (gasp!) wash some dishes by hand because the dishwasher was so full.

I managed to make 13 meals. (I put a crock pot lasagna in for dinner on Saturday night.) Two of the recipes I split into two meals because it looked like a TON of food. So now we’ll see if I can remember to thaw things and start the crock pot before I leave for work.

Here are all the recipes I made:

Cool Ranch Chicken (I’m going to shred it and make it into tacos for dinner tonight.)

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes (I split this into two meals since it used two pounds of beef. My family never eat that much in one meal.)

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers

Pot Roast (Kevin’s favorite)

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili (I have made this recipe a bunch of times and we L-O-V-E, love it! I split this into two meals as well because it makes a lot of food.)

From this site I made Savory Pepper Steak and Apple BBQ Pork Tenderloin

Spicy Hamburger Goulash (I don’t love goulash but Kevin and Sonja do. I think I could have split this into two meals as well, it really filled up the freezer bag.)

And finally, (if you’re actually still reading…), from this site I made Slow-Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo and Slow-Cooker Chicken Teryaki (which both recipes say to split it into 2 bags for two meals but I made each into one meal because I didn’t read that part until I was finished. Duh. I guess we’ll have a lot of leftovers on those nights.)

If you’re keeping track, that’s 12 meals. And hopefully leftovers to make it more like 24 meals. I am most definitely not writing this post to let you know how well organized I am and what a kitchen genius I am. In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite. But it’s nice to know that dinner will be mostly made when I get home from work a couple nights a week.

Next time I do this, I will wear shoes! My feet were killing me after cooking and working in the kitchen for so long. I think I will do all my chopping, then all my browning of meats, and then all the opening of cans, etc… next time. I think it might go faster that way. And I will send my family away for the time I need to cook. I love them, but it really slowed me down to help with Mario Kart and snacks and milk and all those things kids need. Even with my husband helping me, the children somehow find me and want me to do things for them. Finally, we have an upright freezer in our basement but all these freezer bags would have fit in the freezer that goes with my side-by-side refrigerator so you do not need an extra deep freeze to do something like this.

Stay warm everyone!

Six Months

This chubby baby is 6 months old today! Time is going by too fast. She has two bottom teeth. She can roll from her back to her tummy and can almost sit up by herself. She loves eating oatmeal, apples, and carrots. She likes playing with her feet. She continues to be super laid back and cheerful. We just love her to death.


Three Months Old

Camille was three months old on Tuesday. She makes me smile and warms my heart. She has a funny little smile. She likes to “talk” with her big sister. She occasionally rolls over. She quickly gets furious if she’s hungry and we’re not quick enough with her milk. She loves being held by anyone. Mostly she’s pretty easy going. I need the growing to slow down!


First Christmas

We went to see Santa at Westdale Mall on Saturday night. Both girls did great! No one cried and Sonja even told Santa what she wanted in a voice he was able to hear and understand. Sometimes she gets quiet and mumbly when she’s nervous. Why doesn’t Santa pass out candy canes anymore? Now you just get a coloring book. Healthier I suppose but not nearly as fun in my opinion!


First Thanksgiving

We celebrated Camille’s first Turkey Day in Mt. Vernon. We ate too much and had a great time. Camille had plenty of people to snuggle her and Sonja had Tara, Billy, and Grandpa Joe to play with. And Kev and I had time to sit quietly with no one bugging us. So thankful for that. Ha!


Two Months

How has it been two months already?! Camille is doing great! She weighs 12 lbs, 5 oz and is 24.5 inches long. She is smiling more each day. She likes to coo and grunt and chew on her hands. She loves to watch her big sister do anything. She started daycare last week and they tell me she’s laid back and relaxed. We’re feeling lucky to have a happy, healthy baby!


Sonja Says

We had a day of firsts yesterday. We dropped Sonja off for a birthday party with people we don’t know all that well. Don’t worry, she was perfectly safe. But every other birthday party we have attended as a family. She had a fabulous time and Kev, Camille, and I went out for a nice dinner. I’m calling it date night because baby Camille slept through the whole thing!

Sonja also had her first taste of pop at the birthday party. She had Sprite and it’s her new favorite thing. She brought her cup home with her in the car. She was sucking down the remaining soda when she stopped and announced to us, “This makes me not want to sleep!”

Thank goodness no one gave her a real Coke!