[monday meals mashups]: the end of september.

Pot Roast is on sale!
Pot Roast is on sale!
Pot Roast is on sale!

...And this is where my life is at. I almost cried sweet tears of meaty joy that pot roast is finally on sale. Fall is officially here. You may think fall arrives with Pumpkin Spice Lattes; I know fall arrives when pot roast goes on sale.

My. Life.

The weather is getting cooler and foods in our house are getting heartier. Blessed be the name of fall.

Here's what we are cooking up this week (we? This is a we like we fixed up the back yard, we are pregnant with a baby girl, we rewired lighting over the weekend to add an overhead fixture to baby Kate's room - yes we did all of that in the same spirit that we will be cooking together this week...):

Monday: Pasta Soup. Not necessarily what I would have ultimately picked for tonight if I had all the time in the world, but it's mid-afternoon and sick Sam has a cold so we still haven't made it out for our weekly shopping trip. That means dinner tonight has to be easy and nothing says easy like pasta soup. Of course, for Chuck, pasta soup is simply a homemade crouton delivery system: heat a pan with EVOO (medium high) and drop in a bunch of French bread cubes to be totally soaked in oil. Turn, rotate, and babysit until they start to toast. This is the best part of pasta soup. {recipe card below}

Tuesday: Not sure if you heard, but pot roast is on sale this week. We will be having red wine pot roast to celebrate. Love this recipe - great recipe blog too (and she's had a heartbreaking infertility journey but is cooking her happy ending right now). I'll add some red potatoes in with the roast as he cooks in my crockpot and mash them up at the end with some cream.

Wednesday:  Chicken Stir-Fry Wraps. Good old Martha. I'm too lazy and cheap to buy a head of butter lettuce to actually make these wraps, so we will have them with rice. Sam will eat rice. He will not eat lettuce. He is so my baby.

Thursday: Spicy Thai Noodles. Love this recipe and love it even more with a side of peanut sauce and vegies.

Friday: Chicken Mish Mash. There is a real name to this meal but we call it mish mash. If you make it, you'll see why. It's delicious and if you have kids or a kid's pallet like me, it's perfect. Easy peasy crockpot dinner that somehow serves 5,000. I call those meals "Jesus Dinners". This is a Jesus Dinner. Servings just keep appearing from the crockpot.

Saturday and Sunday will be more house project fun. We made HUGE progress this weekend with the help of Chuck's Dad. This coming weekend we have "art direction" arriving in the form of Chuck's Mom and Sister to make nursery visions into nursery realities.

Happy Cooking as always!

ps on the soup: I've been skipping the spinach part for years since it violates my vegetable policy (no vegetables ever). I can't imagine making it with spinach now but I know there was a time when I would have said the complete opposite.  

photo dump friday.

This week flew by and not surprisingly.

Once I had my little blog meltdown last week over things getting done around here, funny, but things started getting done. Point for public venting.

Items are being sold at lightning speed on Craigslist except the rowing machine. Why? Oh, because you have to list something in order for it to sell. Still dragging his feet on that one....

With the help of a Sam handler (Fe) I hit the ground hard this week buying items for Sam's *new* room and Kate's nursery. And my Father in Law will be in town this weekend to help with the "manly" things that I can no haz help on - like moving furniture. I got winded today vacuuming. I don't see heavy lifting in my 2014 future.

I am a happy pregnant camper now. Well, for now. I'm sure I'll be all up in arms about something in no time.

Until then.... Happy Friday!

Here's our week in cell phone pictures:

We went to Gameworks with The Gang on Saturday night. As you may know, Gameworks is a place of fun, excitement and over the top video games. Way too much for Sam Allison. He only liked the games if they were not moving, he wasn't actually playing or....

He was sitting with Auntie Jessica who was deemed the only "safe" person to play games with. This is shocking to me because she isn't a nice or safe person. Kidding. She's the best and he loves her too much.

First bowl of Spaghetti-Os. Be still my heart. I put this above walking in importance on the milestones list but just below McDonalds.

This is my Big Kid Baby having his bottle of water on the couch with his cartoonies. His attention span for TV is about five minutes and you know what, best five minutes ever. I am such a good Mom.

Great news. Found Sam's "missing" sweatshirt.

That would be Sam: 1; Grandma's irreplaceable Dogwood tea set: 0.
This is what he came downstairs in for dinner. I try to treat it like any child wanting attention. I just sighed, snapped a picture and went back to serving dinner.

Spear hunting for Daniel Tigers.


Jackie Cat had an obsession with trying to figure out how the printer and putting machine worked. Hours of experiments were logged throughout his life. Since his passing, Sam has taken up Jack's research with unbridled enthusiasm.

He's in the cupboard.
The audio to this picture is giggling.

He knew the second we walked into Great Clips that something was afoul.

And he knew the second he sat down that this wasn't going to end well. No amount of Sour Patch Kids, Junior Mints or PBS apps was going to fix this. Screw you Mom and Dad.

This is his fifth haircut. Each has gotten progressively worse. He cries harder during a hair cut than getting a shot.

The hair cut ends. He hops down off the chair, waves at the people in the waiting area and heads out the door for home like nothing ever happened and he did not just recreate a scene from the Exorcist.

Happiest Baby Toddler on the Block.
Happy Friday to all!

and that's why i'm starting sam's transition now.


This is the face of RTC syndrome. Look closely. It's a devastating affliction.

RTC, which in the Allison house stands for Resistance to Change, is a debilitating illness. It affects those young and old. It knows no age. It knows no gender.

RTC is a genetic disease that I have long suspected Sam had. It affects nearly all DNA-linked Allisons. God help you, Baby Kate. For Sam, today was total, 100% confirmation that he has RTC. Good news is knowing this is cheaper and more accurate than a paternity test. Small wins everyday in my life.

Chuck is obviously nearly incapacitated with his RTC. Does anyone else remember this meltdown in 2010 over cereal changing formula? Yes, I signed my name to this open letter to General Mills, but who do you think was spouting the venom that night?

You too may have family members currently suffering from RTC. You yourself may be a sufferer as well. I struggle with bouts from time to time but I feel those are more like Patty Hearst symptoms and I'm identifying with my Allison captors and starting to act like them.

Symptoms of RTC may include:
~owning t-shirts from middle school into your 30s
~inability to throw away mail or any documents even those in duplicate or online
~unnatural attachment to inanimate objects like your childhood dryer which someone and his sister may have asked their mom to take a picture of since they weren't home to say goodbye to it when it almost lit the house on fire and had to be replaced.

Today I began the process of transitioning Sam's room into a big boy room. I get asked a lot about whether I'm transitioning Sam to a new room and moving baby Kate into the "nursery" or leaving Sam. It was never a question: leave him. I have also said repeatedly that I want this to be a slow process, piece by piece.

Why? Because I know my child. I know his genetics. And I know how this would go down if it was happening to his father.

And this is what I got:

THIS is a hysterical meltdown over switching his rug. RUG. He lost his baby mind over a new rug. Not in a good way lost his mind. Lost it in a world-coming-to-an-end-my-life-is-over sort of way.

Together we opened the new rug. He was very interested. It was wrapped around a tube so the new rug was immediately on his good side - it had brought a gift. Until he realized what was happening.

I pulled up the old rug and threw it over the railing to downstairs. I came back into his room to find him sitting where the rug had been, rubbing the ground, and crying. We laid the new carpet out and... meltdown.

He hates it. It's not his old rug. It's awful.

SAWREEEA Sam but that rug has Lebowski-like qualities and will really tie your new big boy room together. It stays.

Later, after copious amounts of playing on the rug, spinning, and happy feet dancing, it seemed like we were going to make it.

Until he saw the old rug downstairs, threw himself on it, and rolled back and forth in love.

I love this rug too don't get me wrong. It's fabulous. It also gets brown stains on it from water, drool, ANYTHING. I'm done.
Then broke down again as I folded it for the Goodwill pile.

Sam Allison, now an official card holder in the RTC club. Blame your father, Sam.

Question: if this is the reaction I get to a new rug, what happens when the changing table moves or the crib comes out or the new baby is home? Will his head just explode? What does toddler therapy look like? Do they have a little baby IKEA couch to lay on?

[monday meals mashup]


Another week, another set of meals. Good news is, the weather got my memo from last week and we are definitely, finally, oh em gee what is taking so long, seeing signs of fall. Not strong signs - 66 and cloudy isn't exactly Seattle fall (more like a usual Seattle summer) but weather beggars are not weather choosers.

I sat down today per my Monday morning ritual and thought I'd take a picture of what my meal process looks like. Not that it's probably far off from yours, but it helps to give the visual on what I'm doing here. And isn't that what this blog is all about? To give you a clear picture of my life. That's actually a question. Add a question mark to that sentence. Is that what I'm doing here? Tough to tell.

So first, I sit down with my go-to recipe books.

The first, Martha Stewart's Great Food Fast aka The Recipe Bible. Immediately buy this if you don't already own it. The second two are my cookbooks, affectionately known as the "new cookbook" and the "old cookbook". Chuck and I are very cleaver and inventive with naming things. See our children, Sam and Kate for further examples. The middle one is the "new cookbook" - mostly Pinterest recipes that have made the cut with a few from friends and family too. The old one is the original cookbook that I started in college. It has some relic gems and forever classics.

Also, not pictured, is the grocery store weekly ad on my computer so I can see what's on sale. I'm dying to have red wine pot roast, but until pot roast goes on sale...I'll pass.

To add authenticity, I really should have a picture of Sam sitting next to me watching PBS shows on my phone while I do this. I'm 100% sure I read something about how important screen time is at 16 months old. Or maybe that was in Susie's Handbook for Effective Monday Morning Parenting. Probably was.

And then I make the master list:

Not listed are two really important things we bought: Spaghetti-Os for lunch today and Eggos for breakfast. I would say "Hey! I'm pregnant!" but let's be real. I eat those things normally. Actually, I haven't had Spaghetti-Os since I was pregnant with Sam and Eggos are for emergency "I don't feel like actually trying today" breakfasts for Sam. Weird, he loves them. Is there sugar in syrup? Then yes.

So here's what's for dinner:

Monday: LUDLES! Lucy's favorite. Will pour one out for our California home girl while we eat this tonight. Definitely takes time, definitely worth it. [recipe card below]

Tuesday: Country Skillet Supper. I found this one in the old cookbook. We used to have this all the time when we first got married and then abruptly stopped. I have no answer for why. Maybe I OD'd on it? Who knows. The recipe is a little like Rachel Green's Trifle. Beef, good. Tomatoes, good. Soup, good. Noodles, good.

Wednesday: Stove Top Chicken. I realize now that if you look at my grocery list, this is noted as "Burn Memorial". Funny story (except not but anyways): My Mom made this one year for Christmas dinner. It bakes for an hour at 350. She backed into me, dropped the pan on the door of the oven and it coated her face in 2nd degree burns. Christmas in the ER. This was 20 years ago and not once since then have we called it anything but "Burn Memorial Chicken". Her face healed perfectly, never scarred, and we got to rename a meal after her. Win for Fe. [recipe card below] Also, don't judge me.

Thursday: Fried Chicken. HECK YA. This is oven fried chicken - there is no deep frying happening in my kitchen. So easy and if you have kids, this was my favorite to help make because you have to shake the chicken in a bag to coat it. Add mashed potatoes and I literally can't wait.

Friday: Sam is at Fe's for a sleep over. Chuck and I will be eating dinner in peace, quiet, and somewhere really special and classy. Like Five Guys.

Saturday: Steak and Spaghetti. A classic my side of the family combination. Chuck's Dad is coming over to help with my to-do list / pregnancy meltdown so I'm making him one of my favorites. Lesson learned: one freak out blog post will earn you oodles of family help. I'm making the spaghetti sauce - it's a super simple 15 minutes Giada recipe (but minus the pancetta since we are having steak).

That's the week! Happy cooking to all.

photo dump friday

Well, well. We've made it to another Friday.

Sometimes, I expect to go into Sam's room and find some sort of prisoner tally mark system checking off the days/weeks survived with me at the helm of his life ship. He did recently ask for a rock hammer and a poster of Dora for behind his crib so he might be planning some sort of escape.

I would be to by now because things are going down hill fast. Here's a fun quick story:

So I live in a permanent state of nausea with this pregnancy - varying degrees at all times and at least one vomit a day. Yesterday, Sam - oh wait, stop reading this if poo or vomiting or my life in general bothers you - took a dump like you would not believe. He'd been saving up for two days. ANYWAYS, it was so awful and I'm so nauseous all the time that yes, I threw up into the diaper. THIS IS MY LIFE. I did managed to get it closed before I puked over my baby and into a used diaper and thank the Lord he was fresh off a trip to Fe's house and was in a Pampers.

G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S. I am exactly who/what Fergie was singing about all those years ago.

Another visual for you: Sam likes to mimic my puking so he then spent the next few minutes "puking" into diapers.

And that about wraps up another fun week at the Allisons.

Happy Friday. TGICWBHTPFTD (Thank God It's Chuck Will Be Home To Parent For Two Days).

That moment when you look out the window and realize the baby is almost gone. Who is this big boy playing with his trucks alone in the dirt?

This was a fun parenting moment brought to you by Jessica and Me: we wanted to work on something on the computer but the boys were being less than helpful with that process. So, we locked ourselves in the room. More like barricaded. This is them trying to break through. They eventually gave up and went back to playing toys and we got our stuff done. It was a win win for all involved.


When we headed off for the Demolition Derby back in August, Sam did not like car toys or trucks of any kind. Never played with them. We came home, and he hasn't put them down. This purple matchbox car rides in the car seat with us.

Taking in all the sites at IKEA.
Putting out the baby vibe.

Being a little boy and NOT a baby.

Out take and I loved it.

These two like this every morning after we jail break Sam from his cage.

Oh and yes, that is a bottle. Not that I feel the need to justify myself but I think it's funny so here's the 411: We weaned Sam from the booby to a bottle. Sounds about right to me. It is just a bottle of water and only for night and naps. It worked to wean him and I was too morning sick to care (not that I would have anyways). As long as he doesn't go to Kindergarten sucking down 4 ounces of water before a nap out of a Medela bottle, I say we're fine.

New obsession: ear muffs.

First art work proudly left for us on his closet door. Sadly it was erased and not hung in the Louvre.

Someone having a case of the Mondays.

Until their favorite Uncle Cousin Mark showed up and then it was over loving the hose time.

Happiness is after a lovely nap...

Or the joy of successfully skipping a nap and knowing you "won".
 Happy Friday!

23 weeks: and I'm panicking.


Let's just be real honest here for a second. Circle of blog trust? Why thank you.

I am at a solid 8 right now on the meltdown threat scale. Susie alert level is at red.

Here's the thing.

I'm 23 weeks pregnant. I remember this time with Sam vividly. It was so peaceful. So lovely. I was helping to plan Jessica's baby shower, making cute little banners and diaper cakes, and knowing that the four months I had left would be the absolute right amount of time to do some light house rearranging/gutting/cleaning/obsessive nesting, cash in my "I'm having a baby" card to get some honey-do projects done that had nothing to do with a baby arriving, and make the most adorable little Pinterest nursery you ever did see.

Life at 23 weeks this round looks a little different.

First of all, I have a 16 month old that sucks. Ok, he doesn't suck. HE personally does not suck. But he does time sucks. He does not allow me to make cute little banners or diaper cakes during Teen Wolf marathons. I mean, rude, right?

Second of all, this baby's final four months of cooking come during the holidays; well final two months to be exact. So in addition to gestating a human life and maintaining a toddler human life, I'm staring down the Holly Jolly gun of Christmas gifts, events, and hub bub. Sorry Baby Girl, you are already number 2 behind Christmas.

Four months is not going to be enough time.
We are going to need a bigger gestation.

I might still be throwing up every morning but I'd gladly tack on another 3-4 weeks just to get everything done before I enter the land of Two under Two. Because as much fun as that land sounds like.... (yikes)

It boils down to I have the nesting bug and there isn't much I can do about it anymore. I've hit a "heavy lifting" phase and I no can haz heavy lift. It's very frustrating. These are the problems that plague my life right now. I'm this close to having my own Sarah MacLaughlin ad.

Basically, I'm living in a nesting domino set up and I need pieces to start falling yesterday so that I can get from the nitty gritty (selling bedroom furniture) to the fun stuff (how much glitter is too much in a nursery?). And let's be honest, Chuck and I have always moved at different speed. My is hyper drive. His is glacial.

Really, some of my urgency is the impending doom of a second child, part is wanting to avoid adding any additional hysteria to the Holidays, but mostly it's Sam. I need to start his transition to Big Brother and give him time to adjust. His room is getting upgraded into big boy status - changing table out, rocking chair out, and eventually (god help me) crib out, bed in. In order to give him a gradual step into all of this, things need to start moving. Once that's done, THEN I can start on Baby Kate's nursery.

OBVIOUSLY, that's exactly how I explained everything to Chuck, so calmly.

You're right, we left the circle trust there for the square of lies. Now we are back.

Charles noted that he had not received a work order from me or any sort of paper trail on this subject aside from random rants and the babblings of an insane pregnant woman over ice cream. He asked that I submit a work project form to the production department of Allison Central. You might say, Ha ha, funny Chuck. I say "done and done". So obviously I spent all of nap time making one. Those floors can mop themselves tomorrow.

For your reading pleasure, my formal work request form submitted to Chuck.

It might not seem like much on paper, but trust me. I have a full guest room to empty. A play room to move into a guest room. A Sam room to make big boy and a little baby girl room to make perfect.

UNknocked up and this wouldn't be too bad, but now I'm too pregnant to lift half this stuff. Chuck just started his MBA so he's DOA. And Sam, again, time sucks.

Maybe I'll schedule my C-section for March? I think I could go an extra 10 weeks to get it all done.

in parenting win news...

You wanna talk about a parenting win? Oh I'll give you one.

The above picture is the aftermath of what was one heckuva a ten minutes. Arguably Sam and my finest hours. I apologize that I do not have other pictures to accompany this story but really what am I supposed to do, tell Sam - mid urination on the carpet - to hold please while I get a quick pic?

I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here goes.

Sam and I decided on an impromptu trip to the zoo. We had nothing going on and that makes for a time-ticking backwards day in stay at home motherhood. I couldn't face what was ahead of me and needed a full day game plan fast.

He woke up from his nap, I said "what do you want to do today?" He said "huh huh huh" (because he's super verbal and so full of language - head shake) so I assumed he said "zoo".

I believe with all my heart that Sam thinks "zoo" is actually Dicks (for the non Seattle folk - Dicks is the place where the cool hang out so sayeth Sir Mix A Lot. It's also the place where cheeseburgers are cheap and delicious). We have yet to complete a zoo trip without going to Dicks to he's melded these two concepts into one. I support it and enable it.

We had a lovely day at Dicks/the zoo. Walked our butts off, played our hearts out, saw some questionable monkey behavior and headed home for second nap (yes, Sam Allison does still take two naps. In other news, there is a God and he loves me).

Sam was exhausted.
I was exhausted.

Nap time was going to be amazing for everyone involved.

EXCEPT. Sam elected to reject nap time upon arrival at home. I have no idea why and have yet to determine the cause of the rejection. But, I was busy making dinner / taking my union break so sorry, not sorry Sam. Enjoy some time in your crib alone with your thoughts, prayers, tag blanket and teddy dog.

After 45 minutes of solid rejection time, I had no choice but to spring him from his baby jail and face the acceptance stage in my nap loss grief process. We (I) decided we should at least do a little rest time together on my bed with the help of a water bottle and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. We had a lovely 15 minutes of reflection and peace.

Again, I was exhausted. I cannot stress this enough.

Sam had had enough of the quiet reflection bull and decided we should play the "nigh nigh.....WAKE UP" game. Fine fine. I did't have anything else going on except mourning the loss of nap time.

At some point during the "nigh nigh.....WAKE UP" game, I failed to wake up.

Uh huh.

Look. I am pregnant. I don't sleep well at night. We had spent a warm day at the zoo. I was exhausted. Judgy wudgy was a bear and probably a questionable parent too.

What I would like to know is how long Sam waited for me to WAKE UP before realizing the freedom windfall he had just been granted. Tough to tell. I was asleep after all.

So, a few minutes later I wake up to giggle boy running back into my room in true jubilation looking elated, proud, and wanting to share his excitement with BFF Mommy. It was at this moment I realized his adrenaline rush of happiness was from taking his own diaper off for the first time.That wiener was just a flapping in the baby wind, swaying with uncaged pride.

Good visual, huh?

I flew out of bed a la Home Alone and chased his little naked buns down the hallway, past the forgotten diaper, and into his room.

He was laughing so hard he began peeing and really, is there anything more distinctive than the sound of urine hitting carpet? Urine is now firing all over his room and I'm taking in the view of what should have been his room.

During his alone time crime spree, he had opened every drawer in his dresser, removed 90% of the toys from his basket, and all of his remaining clean diapers were strewn about. A baby rave had clearly taken place during Rip Van Mommy's time away.

So. The above picture. That was taken after rediapering him - learning a valuable lesson that cloth diapers with Velcro tabs need pants on them at all times - and after hauling the carpet cleaner up the stairs for de-urinefication. Behind him is evidence of the disaster I found in his room along with the very proud owner of the mayhem.

From now on, I'm going to try really, really hard to not fall asleep during the day shift. It sounds like a simple goal, doesn't it? One would think.

[monday meals mashup]

Oh my god. I have a blog?

News to me apparently.

I'm so stoked looking out my window that the leaves are showing some Fall signs. Light turning signs. Minuscule signs... ok ok, I'm grasping at fall colored leaf straws, but I'll grasp at what I need to. We are so close to being out of the summer heat I can almost taste it.

Actually, I can literally taste it since I have given up on summer cooking and have turned the corner into fall dinners. Oh I'll make it fall, dang it. I need fall. I need leggings. I need sweaters. I need to not wear these maternity shorts ONE MORE DAY. I cannot.

So, it may be 80 degrees outside today (which in Seattle-ese translates to roughly 118), but we are having fall for dinner. All.Week.Long.

Monday: Homemade Mac and Cheese. My favorite. The bestest. The bombest. The easiest. This recipe gets high marks for it's ease, the fact that I can make it in the morning and bake it later, and that it tastes just as good for lunch the next day. Oh and that I usually have everything for it sitting on my shelf. It was my favorite when I was five and my favorite now that I'm 25 (+6). {recipe card below}

Tuesday: 15 minute Herbed Chicken. It literally takes 15 minutes. This is an old Campbell's soup recipe and it's always on my shelf. Well, the one ingredient is always on my shelf as a go-to. The jist: Chicken titties browned on the stove then simmered in cream of chicken with herb soup. Fabulous with rice-a-roni and cranberry sauce. My only cooking recommendation with this one is to pound the boobies a tad thinner than how they come at the store. The really thick DD guys tend to take so long to cook that they dry out. Sometimes I even slice mine along the equator if they are just too Mae West huge.

Wednesday: Baked Potato Soup. Like I said, it's mid-November in my kitchen this week. I'm so excited about Wednesday dinner I'm already in countdown mode. This is a great fall soup and I strongly recommend making it - it's a baked potato in soup form. Fair enough, if I was working, this would be a Sunday soup not a Wednesday after work when I want to die soup. Not because it's overly complex, it just takes more than 15 minutes. {recipe card below}

Thursday: Chicken Yakisoba. Love this recipe from Pinterest. The spice can get away from you in a hurry so watch the sriracha use if you are a baby like me and need things zero-star.

Friday: No Peek Chicken. Nothing says fall like chicken cooking for 2-hours in your oven. Hello heaven.

Saturday: The final member of The Group turns 30 so we are out and about and "celebrating" the fact that we are all officially dying one day at a time. So old. I remember when he was 18.

I hope you have a lovely week cooking for yourself and your family.

Is it Fall yet?

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