January 26, 2011

Hamburger Veggie Soup

I made this big pot of soup and am still eating it happily for lunch today. Now, that's a good soup! I think this is my 4th meal of this soup and it is still hitting the spot. Here is the recipe for the yummiest, easiest soup ever.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup
(Adapted from here)

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 6 to 10 cups water
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
Brown ground beef and onion together until meat is lightly browned. Drain off excess fat. Add all remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a boil.
Cover and simmer for two to four hours. Check periodically and add more water, if needed. Remove bay leaves and serve.
Makes 18 to 20 cups of soup. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Note: The original recipe from Money Saving Mom includes carrots and 4 cans diced tomatoes. I only had 1 can diced tomatoes so I added a can of tomato sauce as listed above and it turned out very yummy. This tells me that this recipe is highly adaptable so go with what you have and improvise. 

January 20, 2011

Back in Business

I have been waiting for this day for the last seven months. We can finally go to Costco and buy everything on our list. Have you ever tried to shove Costco-sized baby wipes or Costco-sized anything in the bottom of a stroller basket? It doesn't really work very well. We have been eating lots of smashed bread and bananas lately.
Now if only Trader Joe's would offer some 2-seater carts...

January 10, 2011

Baby Gear

Hi, my name is Natalie and I hate clutter. Have you been to Babies R Us lately? There are a 1,000,001 baby gizmos and gadgets. I try to keep our house from looking like a daycare. We do have a playroom with a bunch of toys (all purchased second-hand), but two babies live here.

Some of my girlfriends have asked me for a list of baby product recommendations so they can go to BRU and not lose their minds. I distinctly remember our first visit there when I was pregnant - M and I almost had heart attacks thinking "we need two of all of this stuff?" Fear not, prego friends, you do not need most of that stuff. A few things are really important though. Anything that makes baby sleep or makes baby stop screaming is essential. The trick is that every baby seems to have their own little set of rules about what makes them sleep and stop screaming. Good Luck and SLEEP NOW!

Here is my list of the things you really need and will actually use:

  1. Car Seat - its the law :) Chicco Keyfit30 is really nice, albeit a bit heavy.
  2. Pack n' Play - bassinet topper and changer station are great for the first few weeks/months if you want baby to sleep in your room. Then later you can use the bottom portion as a portable crib for travel.
  3. Boppy - great for propping up baby so they are not flat on their back all the time
  4. Snap n' Go stroller - cheap, folds up small and lets you snap your car seat in and go
  5. Playmat - Love this! We started using this at 2 months and still use it multiple times a day. I highly recomend the TinyLove Deluxe Playgym.
  6. Blankets - We like the SwaddleMe ones in fleece for swaddling (duh) and love the Aden & Anais blankets for just about everything else.
  7. Breastpump - Medela Pump in Style and storage bags.
  8. Bottles - Dr. Brown's. A few of the 4 oz and more of the 8 oz.
  9. High Chair - you don't need this right away, but the Fisher Price SpaceSaver models are nice if you don't want to use floor space. It straps onto any regular chair.
  10. Diapers and Wipes - Costco rules for disposable diapers and wipes. We use BumGenius Elemental All in One cloth diapers at home.
  11. Shampoo and Diaper Cream - We love all the Burt's Bees and California Baby products.
Other Things I Love:
  • Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch - put fussy baby in and like magic the baby falls asleep!
  • Ergo - better than the Bjorn because it holds the weight on your hips and not just your shoulders. Also lets you wear older baby/toddler on back
  • BOB Revolution jogging stroller - spendy, but awesome!
  • Bouncer Seat - Fisher Price Rainforest keeps the natives entertained
  • Jumparoo - Fisher Price Rainforest wins again
  • Backseat mirror
  • Dr. Brown's mixing pitcher - great for mixing formula in batches
  • Video Monitor - Summer Infant Handheld Color
  • SleepSheep Sound Machine
Stuff you DO NOT Need:
Bottle warmers, wipe warmers, bed quilts, baby bath towels

If you like doing your own research, I recommend reading the current version of the Baby Bargains book. Its like the Consumer Reports for all baby gear and is totally essential for figuring out which brand is best.

January 3, 2011

Happy New Year


Happy New Year! Our family had a wonderful holiday season and now we look forward to all the fun 2011 will bring.

I hope to re-cap our holiday soon with pictures!