Thursday, May 31, 2012

WFD: Baked Pizza Chicken

A twist on chicken parmesan, this is a favorite comfort food recipe of mine.


  • 2-3 boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 2 tabelspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Prego veggie smart pizza sauce
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp oregano 
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp parsley
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
    • optional (remember, we like it spicy)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix bread crumbs w/ seasoning mixture.
  3. Spray chicken breasts with olive oil mister (or coat with 1/2 tblspn and use brush to spread).
  4. Season chicken breasts as desired (I used oregano and garlic powder).
  5. Dip chicken breasts into breadcrumbs until coated.
  6. Fry chicken on the stove with olive oil (use mister to coat or 1 tblspn) 2-3 minutes each side.
  7. Put chicken breasts into baking pan and top with shredded mozzarella.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  9. Remove from oven and top with Prego pizza sauce and a dash of oregano.
  10. Return to oven and bake for 45 minutes or until juices run clear / chicken reaches internal temp of 165.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Attention Photogs, Momtogs, and Collectors of All Things Old: A Contest!

Time to dust off those old photos! Want to win an iPad 3 or one of 15 fantastic scanning packages? "Like" FotoBridge on Facebook, and then upload your picture to enter their Foto Flashback contest.

The funnier and more unusual the picture, the better! Entries will be accepted until June 22nd. So upload those old pics, then ask your friends and family to vote for your photo. All individuals who enter will receive a 15% off coupon toward FotoBridge services.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Downside of Trying to Concieve: A Top Ten List

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or maintain a pregnancy within a certain period of time. For couples under the age of 35, infertility is diagnosed when they fail to conceive after 1 year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. In addition, couples who are able to conceive but experience repeat miscarriages may also be considered having infertility. If she is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse.*

According to this definition, I've now been faced with infertility issues twice in my life. It took me and my husband a little over a year to conceive Abbey. Now we find ourselves trying for number 2, and facing similar circumstances.

I'm usually very private about this issue; I don't like to put our "private" matters out there, ya know. (I could make a joke about being a good Catholic girl, but I won't.) However, over the past few years I've been quite blessed with a very unique support group, and they've given me the voice to talk about it, and the courage to find the humor in my situation. In my humblest of opinions, humor is the best ally a girl can having when facing issues trying to conceive. I just wish I had realized that sooner! And so with that, I present to you The Downside of Trying to Conceive: A Top Ten List.

10. Listening to helpful advice about "not trying" or "just relaxing".  (As if I could ever really relax.)

9. Practically speaking in code. AF, BBT, 2WW, EWCM... you know what all of these things mean. And honestly, you wish you didn't.

8. Pregnancy symptoms mirror PMS symptoms, and your brain has the power to create symptoms all on it's own. This is truly an evil side-effect of ttc.

7. Peeing on sticks. And peeing on sticks. And peeing on sticks.

6. Charting. And Temping. And that damn thermometer beeping at you every morning.

5. Stalking the calendar. (Is it time to pee on a stick yet!?)

4. Hearing, and politely digesting with a smile on your face, such wisdom as "god's timing is perfect!" or "everything happens for a  reason!"

3. EVERYONE around you is suddenly pregnant. Even the neighbor's daughter's friend who swore she was done after number 5.

2. Sex suddenly becomes more regimented than your job.

1. Realizing you just peed on your last stick. At Midnight. And it's negative, again.

And as a bonus:

A chicken and the egg scenario... Sore boobs. If they're sore, I must be pregnant! Right? Or are they  sore because I keep pushing on them to see if they're sore? Discuss. Or, rather, let's not.

*From the Center for Human Reproduction; New York.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day and Beyond

Memorial Day weekend was... a lot of things. My emotions got the best of me at our local parade, watching Abbey as she waved at soldiers who fought in wars she'll only read about in History class. Soldiers who fought in wars I've only read about in History class.

My own Grandfather served in Asia during WWII. My husband's Grandfather served as well, and it's just so incredibly humbling to think that without them, we may not even be here today, let alone living in a a time and place where our greatest worries include a failing Facebook ipo.

Very humbling indeed.

So we gave thanks this weekend, and honored those men and women who served yesterday, today and will serve tomorrow too. Long after the hot dogs have been consumed and the beer keg emptied, they will continue to make sure we live life among the free.

Now we look ahead to the next big summer event. No, not Independence Day -  but that's a good one too. No, here at the Chaos home, we're already gearing up for the 2012 Summer Olympics! For me that means following swimming, gymnastics and sailing. For the hubby, it means just 4 more years until GOLF becomes an official Olympic sport (again).

What is YOUR favorite Olympic sport?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WFD: Garbage Steak

Every Wednesday we receive a box of yummy, organic goodies from a great company called Door to Door Organics here in Michigan. (They also serve several other states.) Door to Door takes all of the guesswork out of eating healthy for our family.

Each week I get a box full of all-natural, fresh fruits and vegetables delivered right to my door. All for less than what I'd pay at the supermarket finding barely fresh, picked-over items! This week we even got a coloring page for Abbey to showcase her talents on. It's always a treat finding out what's in store for us from Door to Door!

By the following Tuesday, it's always fun to see what I can throw together using what's left of that week's veggies. Here's what I came up with this week, using potatoes, onion and a cheap cut of steak I had frozen.


Garbage Steak



  • 3-4 medium potatoes, halved and cut into slices 
    • we used a mix of yukon gold and red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound beef sirloin steak, cut into strips
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin 
  • 2 tablespoons Safflower oil, divided
    • extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil would work as well
  • Steak Sauce for dipping


  1. Place sliced potatoes in skillet with enough water to cover (about 1/2 cup) and add salt.
  2. Cook covered on high for about ten minutes.
  3. Drain water and add 1 tblspn of oil, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Stir-fry over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned.
  5. Season beef with pepper and garlic powder. 
  6. In a large skillet, stir-fry beef 1 tblspn oil for 5-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. 
  7. Add beef to potatoes & onion - serve over rice or with garlic bread & salad. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

What's For Dinner: Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

I found this awesome recipe on Real Mom Kitchen's blog, and modified it to meet our needs. We like things a little spicy in the Chaos home. The original recipe can be found here.

(Spicy) Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 small can of green chilies
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • Flour tortillas
  • Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and guacamole – as desired
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased baking dish.
  2. Combine oil and seasonings in small bowl.
  3. Drizzle the seasoning mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  4. Add chillies, onions and peppers to the dish and stir to combine, add more seasoning as desired.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WBW: Down on the Farm

This week Bear found himself becoming one with nature. This beautiful piece of land in Mid-Michigan belongs to my awesome sister and brother in-law. They were kind enough to host us for lunch and fun at the farm last Saturday. Now, I'm a city (okay, suburbs) girl at heart; I've never not lived within 5 minutes of a Starbucks. But there really is something so incredibly peaceful about being there on the farm. Instead of traffic, they hear roosters and pheasants. I could get used to that.

Abbey and Bear had fun meeting the hens and the rooster. There's nothing funnier than a toddler cock-a-doodle-doo'ing.

Now if I only knew how to keep her entertained on the 2 hour car drive!

Things I Never Thought I'd Do: A Top Ten List

Pre-kids, we have a lot of ideas about what we will and won't do as parents. We tell ourselves that we won't give them juice, no pacifier, no tv until two. We'll cloth diaper, only serve organic everything, and we'll have them rear-facing in the carseat until college.

We all have the best of intentions, but then life happens and suddenly we're plopping junior down in front of yet another episode of Dora, with a big fat (non-organic) juice box in hand. All for a moment's peace to do the dishes.

At some point we all come to realize that we're doing a lot of things we said we'd never do. But this list is different. This is the shit I never even thought I'd never do. Ever. No one ever talks about this stuff.

And so I present my first Top Ten: Things I Never Thought I'd Do.

10. Sing, out of key, in front of a group of 6 Moms that I don't know at music class. Without alcohol.

9. Invest in something called Boogie Wipes. Or, use the word "boogie" at all.

8. Rectal Thermometer. 'Nuff said.

7. Hum the "Bubble Guppies" theme song in my head. At 3am. Bubble, bubble, bubble...

6. Suck, quite literally, the snot out of another human being's nose. This thing really does rock though.

5. Finally concede, after 30 years, that Mac-N-Cheese out of the blue box probably isn't the healthiest option for lunch. Or a 1am snack.

4. Care about the frequency, consistency, and color of someone else's shit.

3. Cry over a car commercial. Subaru, I'm looking at you.   

2. Try to score the hottest ticket in town, to see the Fresh Beat Band. Without resorting to the black market.

1. Spend nap-time on a Mommy Board discussing whether or not you could ever do this:

The answer, by the way, is the strongest "no" I can summon without using very foul language. I am definitely not "Mom Enough" for that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book It!

Who here is obsessed with books? Show of hands, please.

Who stays up until the wee hours of the night to finish "just one more chapter"?

Who gets so involved with their books that they are actually sad when they are over?

Who has found themselves at the 24-hour superstore at midnight because they have to start the next book in a series right now? (I realize this last one is now unnecessary thanks to e-readers, but I still find myself doing it.)

All of these apply to me. My love of reading started at a very young age and continued through-out my entire life. When most kids wanted to be outside during the summer months, climbing, playing, exploring… well, I was holed up in my room with the latest installment of "The Babysitter's Club" or "Sweet Valley High".

Even now, I can barely tear myself away from the last book in the "Hunger Games" series. Yes, I know - I'm a bit behind. I should probably be reading "50 Shades of Grey" right now, huh?

The love of books is definitely something I want to pass on to Abbey, and already the size of her library is rivaling my own. One of the ways we were able to build her library so quickly was through an awesome program sponsored by Miss Dolly Parton.

The Imagination Library was launched in 1996, for the children in her home county in East Tennessee. The idea was simple: give every child the opportunity to read. The program soon took off and is now offered around the country, and around the world. This is not an income-based program; any child, anywhere can join. All you need to do is sign up, and every month a new, age-appropriate book will be mailed directly to your home.

This is a program I strongly believe in, and support here in my own community. Every child deserves the chance to loose themselves in a book, the way I still do today.

So please, sign your child up, spread the word, and get involved. There's so much to discover in the pages… why wait?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Looking Back

Here it is; almost Mother's Day again! This will be my third year officially celebrating the "big day".

I've read a lot of great blog entries this week about what it means to be a mother, what it takes to be a good mother, and then the mother of them all... this Time article asking if I'm mom enough. (I'm not, by the way.)

Forget all that though, I think I'll look back to before I became a mom at all, when I was newly pregnant with Abbey.

For those of you who don't know me personally, my struggles with endometriosis had us concerned we may not be able to conceive at all. But as they say, God works in mysterious ways.


Some days it feels completely normal to be pregnant, and other days I'm simply amazed, awed and terrified all in one. It's such a weird thing to think that in less than 4 months from now, we'll be responsible for someone else's life. Just us. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, just us... Wow.

We stopped "not trying" back before the wedding. Yes, that may have been playing with fire, but I honestly didn't think it was going to happen (which, of course, it didn't -- then). We officially started "trying" then in September, just a few months after the wedding. Ultimately it took us over a year, but only about 10 months from when we started charting. We met with a new (to me) ob/gyn in early August. After reviewing all of my records and films, she estimated us at having about a 30% chance of getting pregnant on our own.

She told us that they'd test Hubby first, later that month. As for me - she was going to let us keep trying until December (which would've been right now), and then she was sending us to a reproduction expert (RE). She said she would normally give us a year from when she met us, but considering our ages (31 and 37), and my medical history, she didn't want us to have to wait too much longer.

Little did we know, we were already pregnant while we were sitting there, in her office, mapping out this game plan. Isn't it funny how life works? When we found out a few weeks later than we were truly pregnant we looked back at the charts and realized we'd conceived before meeting our new doctor. At our next meeting with her, Hubby embraced her (probably a little too tightly) and said "GOD Dr. F, you're GOOD!!!"

Needless to say, he is super, super excited. After hearing "30% chance", we were both a little dejected. I was upfront and honest with him about my conditions from the first time he ever told me he wanted kids, but to hear a doctor tell you those odds, it makes it pretty real. We truly are having our miracle baby.

We're not finding out the sex. We went back and forth about this, and trust me - the planner in me did want to know. But the part of me that thinks this might be our one and only, wants to relish every moment of suspense and wonderment. So in the end we decided to wait it out.

We do have names picked out though - that was surprisingly simple. For the most part I picked out the girl name and he picked out the boy name and we agreed.

As for a gut feeling on what the sex is- I have none. But everyone has told me they think it's a boy. We have not gotten one single "it's a girl". I think I've let everyone else convince me it's a boy at this point. We even refer to the baby as "him". Which we always try to correct, but sometimes it really is just easier to say "he". 

The pregnancy itself so far has been up and down. The first trimester was hard... I was getting sick nearly every day, sometimes a few times a day. Actually, strike that. It wasn't really getting sick, it was dry-heaving. Constantly. I only actually threw up a handful of times, but I'd dry-heave for sometimes 45 minutes at a time. Talk about painful.

Then the second trimester came and it was like someone flipped a switch. I felt better, I finally started gaining a little weight and I felt like myself. Now I'm just a few weeks away from entering the third tri, and I can see where people say that the second is the easiest. Already I can see where this bump is going to get uncomfortable. And all those jokes about not being able to see your toes, or bend over? Yeah, I can see I'm only a few more weeks away from that. Hard to believe how quickly time flies!

Yep, everything is coming together. I've never been happier, or more terrified. Thankfully happier wins out 90% of the time.

And, without further adieu, Abbey the newborn. Stink eye and all. Happy Mother's Day, everyone! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WBW: Monkeying Around

You don't know what WBW is? Come on, get with the times! It's Where Bear Wednesday! That was said in my best cheerleader voice, so please try to be a bit more enthusiastic about it than my toddler was.

I'm going to bet that based on the post title, you couldn't possibly guess where we went today, right?

It was a gorgeous morning at the Detroit Zoo. It was a little crowded because of the end of the year school field-trips, but as long as you can dart in and out of crowds of little people easily, and drown out the shouts of "Maddy! Grace! Parker! HERE, NOW!", then it's fine.

Our favorite exhibit right now is the Arctic Ring of Life, where you pass through a "12-foot-wide, 8-foot-tall tunnel {that} takes visitors underneath diving and swimming polar bears and seals!".

Except that we have yet to see a polar bear swim over us in the tunnel. I'm starting to think bigfoot is seen more often than the bellies of those bears. We're going to put our season pass to good use this summer though to try and catch a glimpse.

If you're local to the area, the Safari Summer Camps are about to start up again, for kids ages 4-15. You can choose to do half-days, full-days, or even a combination of the two. There are classes available for you and your toddlers as well. These programs are just as popular as the safari camps, and unfortunately we missed the opportunity to sign up for the spring sessions. I think we may sign up for the fall though, and have something to look forward to.

So, all-in-all, I will call today a success. We took the bear to the zoo (a sentence I never thought I'd say), and had a great day. Plus we found a new activity for the fall. Win-win!

Here's one more pic, of Abbey and Bear watching the seals.

Adventures in Sippy Cups

An oldie, but goodie. These pictures are from last Spring, when we were making the switch from bottles to sippy cups. As you can see from the pictorial below, it went over really well. (By the way, if you haven't yet noticed, sarcasm and I are quite close friends.)

So here you go - my step-by-step guide to introducing the sippy cup. If you're looking for real advice on how to make the transition, all I can offer is this: Just keep trying. It takes persistence. And patience. And maybe some humor.

Step 1: Show her the sippy. She's not impressed.

Step 2: Offer the sippy. Hysterics ensue.

Step 3: Try to explain it's still "milk" whether it's a cup or a bottle. Note the frantic signing of "milk".

Step 4: Cave in, make a bottle and resolve to try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Big Sell

In my previous life as a working adult, I was in sales. I've done everything from copier sales to internet advertising sales, and I had a lot of fun doing it. I even pitched some pretty big accounts, if I could toot my own horn for a moment. I've stood in front of executives from McDonald's, Travel Centers of America, and The Cleveland Clinic (you know, not to drop names or anything...). I didn't win them all, of course, but I did well enough.

So tell me, why is it that I can't win my two year old over, even once?

The "Where Bear" was not the instant hit I thought it would be. And I spent a good three minutes coming up with that idea! Hmph.

She seemed excited enough about him this morning, but I'm assuming now that was only because he was sitting by her favorite toy, the Magna Doodle. After one good look-over, and a 5-minute introduction from me, she was over it. Maybe I need to pare down my features and benefits spiel.

I am not anything if not persistent though, and so I will keep trying. Why, you ask? Because, well, why not? I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again. This Momma needs all the help she can get. Sometimes I lack the energy, creativity and tenacity needed to keep up with Abbey. Some days I run out of tricks by 10am! And then what? We all know I'm the least spontaneous person on earth. So that's why I thought the bear would be good for both of us.

If I'm held accountable by my blog to make this bear go places, then by golly, he's going places. Whether or not Abbey cares, that dang bear is going to make us get up, get out of the house, and have ADVENTURES. Yes, that needed to be shouted.

In fact, love him or not, I think tomorrow will our first adventure. I'm thinking Tot Time at the library. Yeah, yeah... I'll get creative next week.

Just a disclaimer

Please do not judge my crappy photography. I am not a "Momtographer" and I do not have a fancy camera... yet.

That is all.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Where Bear

They say necessity is the mother of all invention. Right now my necessity is sleep. Beautiful, uninterrupted sleep. Until last week we were getting plenty of it around the Chaos home, but then something happened… we took away the toddler's pacifier. (insert shudder here)

It seemed like the perfect time - Abbey had just turned two, and it had been over a year since she had used the "paci" during the day. We were down to using it just at naps and bedtime, and it felt like it should be an easy transition from just-at-night to not-at-all. Boy, were we wrong.

First came the screaming sessions during nap time. "Oh mama, no mama, please mama!". Then the hour or two of moaning, then talking, then moaning again at night. Followed then by the 5am wake-up. No, this was clearly not working, at all. What was once our peaceful, albeit chaotic, home was turned upside down last Thursday, and four days later, I'm just done with it.

Which leads us to the invention of the "Where Bear". Where Bear is just a plain-old run of the mill teddy bear that, quite honestly, my daughter never showed interest in before. But given a new life, maybe some forged documents, a pair of vintage aviators, and an itinerary, and this bear just may become cool yet.

Here's how it's going to work. Tomorrow morning Abbey will meet the new and improved Where Bear, and he (or she?) will be able to come with us wherever we go. The grocery store, music class, the playground… wherever our adventures take us, Where Bear will be there too.

The hope is that he (or she) will became the new "hot thing" in Abbey's life. Out with the paci, in with the bear. Or so I hope. From here on out, we'll be having "Where Bear Wednesdays" here at CITC, in which that darn bear may show up… well, anywhere.

We'll see where it takes us. Hopefully it takes us to better soothing techniques, and at long last… sleep.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Discovering Your Hometown

As a young kid, I grew up in a small lakefront community in the southeast corner of Metro-Detroit. Before high school, my family relocated to a much larger, growing suburb further out from the city. It was quite a shock to go from a graduating class of 90 to a class of 900. But I survived.

I tell you this only because I now find myself back in that little community on the lake, raising my own family, and getting to know my hometown once again. Now I have a two year old daughter named Abbey in tow, and a husband who has to travel for his job.

What that really means is I have to get very creative with my time. It's just Abbey and I for as many as five days at a time, so if we don't find fun things to do, we're both going to be miserable after that first forty-eight hours ticks by.

Just this morning we had her two-year well-check appointment at Lakeview Pediatrics, where both my husband and I were seen as children. I even ran into one of my former pediatricians! How's that for getting to know your hometown again?

I love that it's a small network of wonderful doctors, nurses, and techs; and that we get to know each one. They really do make the experience that much better! So while I understand that a trip to the doctor is not much fun at all, and definitely not the most exciting kick-off for a blog, it really is essential to find a practice you love. If you're local to me, and looking to make a change, or perhaps have a new bundle on the way, I highly recommend this practice.

Once we got a clean bill of health, we high-tailed it over to the National Coney Island for some nice, good old-fashioned comfort food. I mean really, what soothes those just-got-a-shot nerves better than a hani and fries? Not much, my friend. And when I say nerves, I mean my nerves, of course. As usual, she handled it way better than I did.

With shots out of the way and the summer ahead of us, Abbey and I are hoping for lots of opportunities to be outside and explore our city and surrounding areas more. We will be getting our parks pass this weekend, and can't wait to put it to use at the lakefront parks.

We will be checking in here with lots of stories and pictures from our adventures as we truly do discover our hometown. Come back to look for recipes, fun at-home activities, and tips on trying to be a greener, healthier family as well! We look forward to seeing you around town, and around the web!