August 31, 2012

Twas the Night Before Football

It's here! It's finally here! I've been whining for it since June and FOOTBALL season is finally here. Can you smell the chili cooking? Taste hot dogs and hamburgers? Feel the chill in the air? I am so pumped!
 
I've been trolling ETSY for cute UT gear! I can't make a deicision for the life of me! Evie has two UT dresses already for this year and of course we will be buying the required cheerleader uniform, but I wanted to get her one more game day outfit! Which of these do y'all like best? I am kind of leaning towards number three which is of course the most expensive! Help me decide!
 
1) Ruffled Orange & White polka dot pants with power T shirt.
 
 

2. This monogram inspired frilly girls t-shirt.


3) Orange Checker Board Power T Dress.



So what do y'all think? Are you football fanatic like me who is way over excited to deck your little one out?!
 
IT'S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE, Y'ALL!!!
 
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August 30, 2012

Live From the Middle Ground

Otherwise titled "If You Don't Have Something Nice to Say, Don't Say It At All"
 
Well, y'all it has officially started. Hooray for election year 2012. Obama vs. Romney.
 
Now normally I try and give politics a wide berth. My blog is not about politics. It's about me, my family and some other occasional randomness.
 
But I feel like this needs to be said.
 
Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Green Party, Made Up Party, STOP BEING ASSHOLES.
 
Seriously, in the past week I've witnessed Democrats being called "socialist assholes", Republicans being called "stupid ignorant uneducated red-necks" and members of the Green Party being called "mother ****ing tree huggers" who are "running this country into the ground".
 
I take issue with all of those statements, mainly because I have really good friends and family affiliated with all three and it pisses me off when you say mean things about my friends and family.
 
Maybe I am in the minority here, but I think it would be far more productive to have a bit of responsible discourse rather than call each other names. Here's a thought why don't you sit down with a friend on the opposite side of the political realm. Resolve NOT to call one another names or stereotype and discuss what you believe without trying to change the other's mind. It's hard, yes. But impossible? No.
 
So this election year I vow not to judge you or make hateful comments based on your political affiliation. I think that would be about as dumb as making a hateful comment based on the color of your skin or your sexual orientation.
 
 
 
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August 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Vol

{She's ready to rock her orange this Fall!}




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On Having an "Easy" Child

I've had this post drafted in my head for months now, but I've never gotten up the nerve to post it because I don't want it to seem like I am bragging and invoke the wrath of the karma gods.
 
Do you hear me Karma gods? Not. Bragging.
 
We've heard it more times than we can count, from friends, family and strangers alike, "She's such a good baby!"
 
What irritates me though is when people tell me that we are lucky. That we got lucky in having such an easy baby. That we got lucky because she is a girl, and girls are just easier
 
To some degree, heck yes. We are lucky! We are so lucky to have Evie as our daughter; we are blessed beyond what I can comprehend.
 
On the other hand, my kid is well-behaved, because Chris and I parent her and set firm boundaries. We still haven't wavered on our iPhone policy, bedtime is enforced in our household and certain things are just off limits to baby hands. We have rules and even at seventeen months she is expected to obey them. We require her to clean up her toys and if she drops something on the ground she knows she must pick it up and put it away. We don't allow her to play with her food, and we don't allow her to throw things inside the house. We've always parented with the mantra "begin as you intend to go on". So we've never waited or hesitated to instruct Evie on what she should be doing or setting boundaries.
 
So yeah it kind of burns my biscuits when people tell us we are just lucky or that it's just because Evie's a girl. I am sure that it is a combination of Evie's personality and how we parent her. But to just brush it off and say we are simply lucky, discounts all the hard work that the three of us have put in to make this all work.
 
So what do you think nature or nurture? Or like me a combination?
 
*Also, y'all I'm not saying we are perfect parents and we certainly don't think we have found the secret to parenthood. However, I will say that we have found what has worked for our family and I think we are rocking it.*
 
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August 27, 2012

Easy Rotisserie Chicken Recipes

When it comes to making meals for my family, these little babies are my best friends. I love how versatile they are. I get about four and a half cups of chicken so I can use one chicken for about three meals. You can also get really ambitious and make broth or stock out of the carcass. These are two of my favorite quick and easy recipes that use a rotisserie chicken. At the bottom I have included links to some others!



Meal Number One: Magic Chicken Noodle Soup

I love this chicken soup. It's my go-to when I am feeling down or sick. The first time I made it my husband asked me what I put in it, and I responded with "Magic!" Hence the name. This soup is great because it freezes well and you can make the whole recipe without the noodles during nap time or the night before and then just before dinner bring to a boil and add the noodles. It's very hearty and chock full of veggies so this soup can easily serve as an entire meal. NOTE: If you like a brothier soup add less egg noodles.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 1/4 cups of carrots cut into coins
  • 1 1/4 cups of celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup of corn (fresh or frozen, canned won't do)
  • 2 (32 ounce) boxes of chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 6-8 ounces of uncooked egg noodles
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped or shredded


Method:
  1. Chop your veggies! I forgot onion so it's not pictured since I used some dried onion instead.

  2. In a large soup pot melt butter over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook vegetables for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

  3. When the carrots and celery begin to soften and the onions begin to caramelize, add the corn, broth and seasonings. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

  4. Add egg noodles and cook until almost done. 
  5. Add chicken and return to a boil to finish cooking egg noodles and heat chicken. Check for seasoning and add more if desired.
  6. Enjoy!


Meal Number Two: Chicken Pesto Sandwiches

These sandwiches are a perfect option for using up some more of that chicken! It's a great day two recipe; the prep is easy, the clean up is easy and half a sandwich with some fruit easily feeds one person. Plus, it is versatile so you can add what you have on hand. When I made these we added a handful of spinach since we had some and it was great! Also we make these on our old school (think from 2003) George Foreman grill. You can make these in a skillet or a panini maker too.

Ingredients:
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 TBS of chopped garlic
  • pesto
  • chopped chicken
  • spinach
  • 2 slices of provolone cheese
  • mayo, mustard etc


Method:
  1. Add garlic to butter and melt in microwave.
  2. Preheat grill or skillet.
  3. Spread one side of two slices of bread with half the butter and garlic. Spread one side of two pieces with pesto.
  4. Now this is where you have to start moving quickly, so make sure you've got everything on hand.
  5. Place buttered bread on grill butter side down. Quickly coat the other side in pesto. This is where I add any extras like mayo or mustard. Add the chicken, spinach and cheese.

  6. Close your sandwich with the remaining two slices of bread, with the pesto facing down. Quickly coat the other side of the top bread slice with the remaining garlic butter.
  7. Close grill and cook until cheese is melty and the bread is toasty.
  8. Cut in half and enjoy!

 
A Few Other Faves!
 
Chicken Enchiladas
Easy & Delicious Chicken Salad
Enchilada Ranch Casserole
Ro-tel Chicken Spaghetti
CPK Style BBQ Chicken Pizza
Creamy Burrito Casserole
Easy Chicken Caeser Salad
 
Come share your favorite easy go-to recipes for Toddle Along Tuesday with Melissa from Growing Up Geeky




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August 24, 2012

Blogs I Love 2.0

There have been so many fabulous posts out in blog land this week!
 
1) Melissa's second post on pregnancy problems. I warn you, make sure you don't have a mouthful of liquid when you read this.
 
2) Lacey's raw and truthful post on what it feels like to reach out for help. She's so brave, and one amazing momma to her little girl.
 
3) The Momma's post on how shit happens. Seriously, hilarious. Couldn't stop laughing.
 
4) Katherine Stone's Babble post on Post Partum Mood Disorders & Stigma. If I ever see this lady in person this post alone is enough to make me run up and give her a huge hug. I'll enjoy that moment before she calls the cops to take the crazy lady away.
 
5) Ashley's post about how having a girl isn't always always rainbows and unicorns. Because guess what? Girl poop smells bad too. Also, they are perfectly capable of peeing on you during a diaper change also.
 
Do y'all have any posts you loved this week?
 
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August 23, 2012

PSA: How to Get More Blog Comments

Otherwise titled "Imma Cut the Next Person that Makes Me Use Captcha."

Seriously, I hate them. Nothing makes me want to smash ALL THE THINGS like typing out a long well articulated comment, hitting submit and seeing this come up on my computer:

In case you were wondering, that's a picture and possibly hieroglyphics. Head, meet desk.

If you want people to comment on your blog and keep coming back again, please for the love of all that is good and holy, turn that ish OFF.

I implore you, take a moment to see if you have it on. You might not even know you have it on. Do the blogosphere a solid and just check.

If you don't know how, check out Melissa from Growing Up Geeky's tutorial on how to turn captcha off.
 
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August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Family Photos

A few weeks ago my good friend Jessie from Big Leaps Photography met us to take our family photos. Believe or not we've never had them done! I waited for two weeks to get them back and I freaking love them!!! 










That last one is my favorite. I mean seriously, did we make a gorgeous little girl or what?

*all photos posted with the permission of Big Leaps Photography*


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August 21, 2012

Call For September Sponsors and FLASH SALE!

Are you a blogger looking for more readers and exposure? Are you an ETSY shop owner wanting to promote your product? Do you own a business you need to advertise?
Well, that's awesome! Because It's a Vol! is now accepting sponsorships for the month of September!

You can visit our PR PAGE for more information on sponsorships in the forms of ads, reviews and sponsored posts, as well as peek at my stats and other information.

If you don't see something that suits your fancy please email me at itsavol {at} yahoo {dot} com, shoot me a tweet, @itsavol OR if it's more your speed send me a message on our Facebook page, and we will see what we can work out!

Oh, ANDPLUSALSO, we've got a flash sale going on right now!!! Use coupon code "GBO" for 50% off both the Daddy Vol! and Mommy Vol! ad sizes. This code is good until MIDNIGHT (CST) tomorrow August 22, 2012.
 
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Toddle Along Tuesday: Baby Things We Can't Live Without

It is honestly hard for me to remember the first few months of Evie's life. They were a blur of crying and sleepless nights. Looking back her father and I can't believe how much stuff and time a baby takes compared to a toddler.
 
There were a few things that I am sure we would not have made it through the first six months without!
 
1) Snugabunny Swing. Say it with me, snug-a-bunny swing. For serious. This little gem made all the difference in the world. Evie napped in this swing probably until she was eight months old. When she was a little and in tons of GI distress this swing must've helped settle her stomach because it could always calm her down. My parents discovered this swing when Evie was about 3 weeks old and when they saw how awesome it was bought one for us too.
 
 
 
2) Boppy Pillow. Not for the reasons that you would think. This made feeding so much easier while I was recovering from a c-section. I could use it to prop Evie on, or as a back pillow for me (I could not recline without excruciating pain). Not to mention that with the insane amounts of percocet and oxycontin running through my body, it allowed me to actually hold my child after she was released from NICU.
 
 

3) Whale of a Tub. From about two weeks old Evie has loved her bath. In the first three months I can't count how many days she had three or more "baths". Sometimes I would bring it out to the deck in the shade, haul buckets of warm water outside and let her soak while I got some vitamin D. This tub also lasted us until Evie was about seven months old which made me glad we chose to put it on our registry.
 
 
 
4) Bum Genius 4.0 OS Pocket Diapers. Seriously, because before we started using these Evie was wetting through her diapers 90% of the time overnight. Now that we've switched, I can count on one hand how many times we've had a leak or poo-splosian.
 
 

5) Summer Infant SwaddleMe Wraps. These wraps made such a difference for us. Evie has never been a still or cuddly baby. She would wake herself up thrashing about all the time. We used these until Evie was about four months old, then she got strong enough to bust out of them and she decided she wanted to sleep on her stomach. I liked that they came in different fabric weights and how easy they were to use.

What about you? Do you have a list of favorite baby things? Come link them up with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky for Toddle Along Tuesday!

 
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