Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nescafe Memento - A Review

Another BzzCampaign is coming to a close...

I was given the opportunity to try Nescafe Memento coffee drinks, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion.  I was given a box (each box holds 8 servings) of each flavor; Mocha, Cappuccino, and Caramel Latte.

Mocha tasted very chocolatey, but like a watered down chocolate, it was semi-disappointing to have such a "watered down" flavor.  Frothy, yes, but I don't think I would purchase more than one box of these if I were trying them out on my own.  Mocha is normally a favorite flavor in my house too!

Cappuccino, otherwise known as "Coffee flavor", was the least sweet flavor of the bunch.  It did taste like a good, strong, cup of coffee and had a ton of foam on top!  I wasn't impressed by the flavor, but when I got to the bottom of the cup, there were spoonfuls of foam left that I had to dig out with my spoon!  I love a good fact, I think it's the best part of an "ordered" cup of coffee (a latte from a major coffee house chain...)!  But, I would need to add some sort of flavoring to this one, it just wasn't "sweet enough".

Lastly, the Caramel Latte flavor!  I actually tried this one out first and it is the only flavor I would purchase again, if I were to purchase them again (more on this in a bit). To me, it smelled and tasted a bit like buttered popcorn...but I'm still a little stuffed up, maybe more like Caramel corn (which would make more sense).  By far, this was my favorite flavor.

Now for what I really didn't like about these...the sugar content!  Each serving of this coffee flavored beverage has an average of 18 grams of sugar/other carbohydrates!  This is what will keep me from purchasing these.  Since I eat on a low carbohydrate diet (25-30 grams net a day currently), one of these eats up more than half a day's "allowed" carbohydrates!  Yes, I drank 3 of these yesterday...I was having a bad day due to a sick infant and I said "To heck with it, I'm going to test these out and get back to the losing weight thing tomorrow", but my blood sugars were not happy with that decision and neither was the rest of me!

Overall, these were pretty good, just not my "thing".  I would recommend them to someone not worried about the nutritional end of things, I just don't think I know anyone that falls into that category!  My other half will enjoy the other 21 packets of these that I have (23 actually, I got sent a sample pack in the mail of two of them as well) floating around in the kitchen (in the boxes, put away in the cupboard)...or I will probably offer them to anyone who happens to wander up for a visit!
Waiting on the water to get hot!
Oh so foamy...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Food Porn...Low Carb Edition!

I love taking photos of food I have created!  Most of these came from recipes (I'll link if I can remember where they came from), some came out of my own little head (I'll share if I can).  Enjoy the food porn!

For recipes from "Candice" on, they are disappearing from her site March 19th at noon, so grab them while you can!  I went through yesterday and saved every one of them as I have found I make them a lot!
Cranberry-Orange Chocolate Chip Muffin in a Minute (MiM), with a little butter on top.
Candice's Coconut Pancakes (made in my Ice Cream Sandwich Maker to look like mini waffles), eggs, & butter mixed with sugar free pancake syrup for dipping!

Chocolate Mousse (I know there's an "official" recipe out there somewhere but I made this up as I went...)

 Chocolate Mousse recipe (for One):

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (I used dark chocolate)
  • Sweetener to taste (I used 2 Tablespoons Splenda)

  1. Mash/mix until smooth!

Easy, I know!  I was leery of this one...I mean, I love Avocado and all, but as a dessert?  This one really hit the spot and I couldn't tell it was Avocado at all!
Anise Meringue Cookies (posted here)
Turkey Teriyaki Burgers (page 63, The New Atkins For A New You Cookbook...they call the Chicken Teriyaki Burgers, but I don't have access to pre-ground chicken, so we used Turkey!).  Served on top of Romaine Lettuce with Swiss Cheese, a (liberal) sprinkle of Sesame Seeds, and dressed with Mayonaisse mixed with Low Carb Teriyaki Sauce (recipe to follow)!

  Low Carb Teriyaki Sauce (as copied from a message board that I cannot find now):

  • 1 cup Soy Sauce (Use the Low Sodium stuff!  This is really salty if you don't!)
  • 1 clove Garlic, sliced (I used the pre-minced stuff in a jar to save time and it keeps longer in the fridge than fresh cloves)
  • 1 "thumb sized" piece of Ginger Root, sliced (I actually went out and bought a fresh piece rather than using the pieces I have in my freezer!  It was not the "freshest" piece though and I ended up using the whole 6-inch piece after peeling away all the "bad" parts...use as much of this as you like, I personally love ginger!)
  • 1 cup Splenda (or sweetener of choice)

  1. In a pot, simmer Soy Sauce, Garlic, and Ginger over low heat.  You do not want this to boil hard!  Just a few will get "icky" if it boils hard, so resist the urge to crank it up and get it over with!
  2. Simmer for roughly 20-30 minutes, you want to reduce this sauce to about 1/2 cup so it's nice and thick.
  3. Remove from heat and strain out all the garlic and ginger pieces..
  4. Stir in Sweetener of choice, pour in a jar/bottle and cool!  I was able to fit the whole batch into an old "Better than Bouillon" jar (because I keep almost all glass jars that food comes in...they come in very handy when you make your own sauces and such).
    My new GE 7-qt Slow Cooker!  I am in love!  The crock is non-stick metal and the lid "locks" on!
    The "control panel" for my big pretty!  I'm still trying to learn how to use it though...
    Dana Kim's Kings Ranch Chicken (page 64-64, 300 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes by Dana Carpender) served over Cauli-Rice!
    "Secret Granola" (recipe by Lisa at 24/7 Low Carb Diner). I used White Chocolate DaVonci's because I didn't have any Vanilla!  This photo was before it went into the oven to bake.
    Secret Granola Ready to eat!  This is a 1.5 ounce serving (for 2.85g net carb) sitting in a 1/2 cup ramekin with 1 cup of 0g net carb Almond Milk next to it!  This is plenty filling too...I find I do need to take a little insulin when I eat this though.
    Same serving with approximately 1/3 cup of the Almond Milk poured on top!
    Dinner one night...just a couple of frozen hamburger patties cooked on the Foreman (we use our G5 almost daily), topped with some Cheddar Cheese and served with a little Teriyaki Mayo (see recipe above for Teriyaki Sauce recipe).  Salad on the side topped with Ranch (included Romaine Lettuce, Cucumber, Shredded Cheese, and a Hard Boiled Egg).
    My dessert fix one night when Garrick went and got himself a Blizzard...Ricotta Cheese, sweetened and a few sugar free chocolate chips!

  Dessert Ricotta:

  • 1/4-1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese (I get the Walmart's 2g net carbs per 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons Splenda (or sweetener of taste)
  • Dash (or several) Cinnamon
  • Dash (or a few) Nutmeg
  • Dash (to taste) Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (I buy Hershey's...the have them at Walmart right in the baking aisle)
  1. With your spoon, mix everything except the chocolate chips until well blended and smooth.
  2. Add chocolate chips and stir in.
  3. Enjoy!  I like to mix it up a bit here too...instead of Splenda and chocolate chips, try 1 Tablespoon low carb Jam (like the Blackberry Chai Jam) and a little Sugar Free Honey!  Just remember to adjust your carb count for this according to what you put in it.
Dinner a few nights ago...2 frozen hamburger patties (cooked on the Foreman again) with Grilled Mushrooms (under the cheese), Smoked Cheddar Cheese (Borden''s a processed cheese, but pretty tasty), a little low carb Teriyaki Sauce on top of the Mushrooms, and all topped with a pile of Grilled Green Onion tops (just the green parts)!  Served with a side of Mayo for dipping and a small salad with Cucumbers, Mushrooms, Shredded Cheese, 1/6 Roma Tomato, and Green Goddess dressing!
Dinner at Shari's last Wednesday...the baby is still too "wiggly" for the high chairs, but doesn't like to sit in the car seat either!  Dad was playing with him, sending the mustard bottle scooting across the table...he was transfixed by it.
Blackberry Chai Seed Jam!  I made a triple batch because those bags of frozen (no sugar added) berries they sell at Walmart are 3 cups of berries and I wanted to get the bag out of my freezer!  I also don't have any liquid sweetener, so for my triple batch, I added 1/2 cup Splenda instead and just stirred it in after turning the stove top off (but left the pot on the burner to help melt the sweetener).
Blackberry Chai Seed Jam!  What wouldn't fit in the jar...
Chocolate Chocolate Chip MiM topped with a little Blackberry Chai Seed were yummy.
Putting my gadgets to work...Dana Kim's Kings Ranch Chicken in the slow cooker, Rice for Garrick in the red Rice Cooker (with the steamer basket full of Cauliflower in the fridge waiting to start cooking nearer to dinner time), and eggs cooking in the Egg Cooker (notice the 6 lovely brown eggs...our girls started laying again)!
Next week, I'll finally have my three-crock slow cooker and will be able to try some "small batch" recipes!  I can't wait!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby Shades, Laundry, & a Craft Project!

 His future's so bright, he has to wear shades!  Or rather, he has Macular Degeneration running in his family and he has to wear shades...  At any rate, I was fairly unhappy with the sunglasses I got in the mail last week (I ordered them from one of my favorite baby shops, because they dug into his head pretty badly, even though when I put them on him, they appeared loose.  The problem with baby shades is that they put a Neoprene strap on them instead of the arms that go over your ears (in most cases), these act more like swim goggles and Gabriel ended up with red marks in the shape of his sunglasses around his eyes.  Also, when he had just had "enough" of them and tried to remove them (a good hour after they'd been put on), he snapped them back into his eye and nose!  This new pair (purchased at The Children's Place for $3.50) has arms, not Neoprene...they are a little big on him, so the fit isn't ideal, but he leaves them alone for the most part.  Ignore the's more of a "security blanket" than anything, if we don't have it with us he cries, if we do have it, he doesn't want or need it!

What happens when you have four loads of the baby's laundry and two more loads of diapers (not to mention two loads of adult laundry, not pictured)?  A mountain of laundry to fold and put away, hopefully before it all gets used again!  The stuff on top of the table (a card table) is all the stuff Gabriel fits right now, also up there is his pile of burp rags (only two of them were not in the wash, though they are both there now), and about half his towels (there's still one or two in the bath basket)!  The square laundry basket right under the table has a few blankets, a couple of sheets, changing pad covers, and one or two sheet savers.  Also, the ducky bag is a set of cloth diapers (with an AIO and an "extra" liner because the diaper it goes in is set off to be repaired)!  Behind that is a half basket of stuff that I bought last week that is (way) too big still...18 month to 2T stuff I got from the resale shop when it was marked down to 50% off! And, another bag of diapers...

This is something I have been meaning to get to for a while now...  The camo squares are breast pad sized rice packs!  They're roughly the size of my palm and designed to be warmed in the microwave for 15-30 seconds and placed in my bra after nursing and/or pumping to help ease the nipple pain I've been experiencing since the baby was born!  I know, I know...he'll be 5 months old tomorrow and I am just now getting around to it!  Oh boy though, I should have made these before he was born!  Most nights I go to sleep crying (or nearly crying) because my boobs hurt in some fashion...last night, I pumped (11.5 ounces, I really need to find more time to pump so I don't get "that" full) and then popped these in the microwave for 30 seconds.  They were way too hot at that point, so I put them behind a breast pad (a reusable one) so I did not burn my nipples!  Oh the relief of the heat helping to ease the muscle spams I get in my nipples!  No more white nipples either, they got the much needed blood into the circulation system!  I took them out after 15 minutes or so (once they lost most of the heat) and went to bed with "happy nipples" for once!  Of course, then I laid awake humming a song to myslef because what else does a sleep deprived mother do when the day's chores are done, the baby is asleep, and you know you have to be up at 2am and then up for the day by 6am?  Yeah...I finally drifted off some time after 12am, who needs sleep!?

I want to make some larger sized rice packs now...these are great for small injuries and I can see these being awesome when Gabriel is bigger and gets "boo-boo's" because they are small and light-weight.   They are not washable though!  If I had been thinking, I would have made the rice packet in a cheap cotton and then made a little "pillowcase" with the soft material so that it could be washed.  That's what I'll do with the next set I make...  For now, my "Booby-Boo-Boo Heat Packs" are "good enough" for my needs (I've been running around all morning with these stuffed in my shirt)!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kroger Good For You - A Review

Time to write another review for a BzzCampaign!  This time around I was given a $10 gift card to go shopping at Kroger (Fred Meyer for all you West Coasters) and pick up some Greek Yogurt, CarbMaster Yogurt, and CarbMaster Milk!

As you may know, I recently went back on the low-carb eating plan (and am down 12.8 pounds in my first two weeks back), so this campaign could not have come at a better time!  Sadly, my Fred Meyer does not sell the low-carb milk(s), so I was unable to try those, though both sounds really good and I am in love with Hood's Calorie Countdown (called Carb Countdown in other parts of the country) I had big plans for the milk that I didn't get to realize.

Nice and thick Greek yogurt...
The yogurts however are a different story, they have a huge display of them!  I ended up trying four flavors of the Greek Yogurt (they also have a lite version, but I did not purchase any of those) in Peach (not sweet enough for me), Honey (tasted like Plain Yogurt), Pomegranate (tasted kinda "meh"), and Black Cherry (my favorite by far).  I love the thickness of the Greek yogurts, but the flavors are less than stellar in my opinion.

I have always loved the CarbMaster yogurts...this round I tried a few new flavors, Black Forest (has big bits of cherry in it), Cinnamon Bun, Key Lime Pie, and Strawberry Colada (my absolute favorite of everything)!  All of them were worth buying again, but I will probably not get the Black Forest too often as the Cherries were too big for me.  The low-carb yogurts are just as thick as the Greek yogurts and at 4g net carbs per container, they make a wonderful snack in the evening before bed (when I have the carbs leftover at the end of the day) or as a light breakfast (served with an egg and some bacon or other breakfast meat, it makes a complete meal)!

Until my store starts carrying the milk, I will stick to a new found favorite as my "milk" drink...Blue Diamond has an Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk that is excellent to drink by the glass full and it's 0g net carbs!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Help A(the) Kid(s) Out?!

Our oldest nephew in school (who doesn't love going to school in your pajamas?)!
I may or may not have mentioned this before...I meant to, but am not sure if I remembered to...but, my sister put my oldest two nephews into am online public school this past year.  It's not quite like public school and it isn't home school, but a good mix of both "worlds"!  This is their story, please give it a read and "like" it!  They are in a contest to win a Kindle Fire!  The top 10 voted for stories will receive one!

2 Boys No Longer Bullied | What's Your K12 Story?: I decided to make the switch to K12 and ORVA starting this school year because my boys had been being bullied at their school. They were constantly being pointed at as the one who started it. I would...  Read the rest of their story by following the link!
Current and future "home school" kiddos! (Tanner, Wyatt, Gabriel, Riley, & Logan)!

 Not only has it benefited the two going to school, but the next in line (my sister's #3) has already started learning to write and is being included in some of the learning opportunities (science experiments and such)!  Poor Gabriel isn't even 6 months old yet (he'll be 5 months in under a week) and I'm already researching what sort of home-schooling I want him to have!  I don't plan to ever put him in public school...

Monday, March 4, 2013

No Moldy Duckies Here!

Okay, so this one isn't a "craft" per se...but, it does require a bit of skill with a glue gun!  Now that Gabriel is really reaching and playing with his toys, it has been a challenge to hold on to him in the bath as he chases after the "water safety" duck (that says "hot" on the bottom and the letters turn white if the bath water is too hot, ours is a Policeman Duck)!  So, time to break out the bath toys!  But wait...they all have these giant holes in the bottom!  Water goes in, but can't get back out...what a design flaw (or ingenious plan to make it so you have to replace them with new ones every few months)!

I saw this idea on Pintrest (which I still have no clue how to use, so if you "follow" me there that's why everything is so jumbled...) or maybe it was on a blog somewhere...I forget, I was like 6 months pregnant and didn't bookmark or "pin it" (because I don't know how to pin stuff...), I apologize to whomever it was that came up with the idea, I can't give them credit!  But here it is anyway...with photos!

What You'll Need...

  • NEW Bath Toys with Holes in them (We have Rubber Duckies) (or totally dry, free of fluids ones)
  • Low Temp Glue Gun
  • Extra Glue for your Glue Gun (I use Multi-Temp Glue)
  • Glasses, Jars, Shot Glasses...anything to hold your toys hole side up

First, gather all bath toys with the stupid silly holes...  All we have right now is rubber duckies and two bath books, we really need to get him a better variety of bath toys!

Now, flip them over!  Hard step, I know...  As it turned out, it was really difficult to do it this way, so don't bother doing this.  Also, don't try to make the filler "flat" against the duck by sticking Aluminum foil to it...all you will succeed in doing is pulling the filler right back out, it's a waste of time and resources, I should know...I tried it first!
Instead, gather up glasses, jam/cheese jars, condiment cups, and/or shot glasses!  Anything that will hold your duckies (or other bath toys) upside down and relatively flat where the hole is.  If it's flat, you'll get a nice, symmetrical fill...if they aren't flat, you get a nice, asymmetric fill.  Now, take your glue gun (pre-heated and ready to go, right?) and squeeze enough glue to fill the hole and leave a little mound of glue above it.  I used two trigger fulls on the bigger duckies and one in the smaller duckies.

Here's a close up of the difference...  The blue ducky was flat, the yellow was not.  I don't think it makes much of a difference, but it might make them float "funny", I haven't taken ours for a test swim yet.

I think it is pretty darned important (and that's why I didn't mention it first...who would do that?) to mention that I used Low Temp Hot Glue!  You don't want to use the High temp could burn/melt your bath toys and really injure yourself if you drip it on you!  The low temp stuff won't kill your toys and if you accidentally get a body part between the ducky and the glue gun (with a string of glue still keeping the two attached), you won't get hurt when said glue hits you too!

Also, if the glue starts pulling away from your toy, just pull it off and apply fresh glue!  Just make sure there's no fluid in your toy.

Now, go glue all your bath toys shut!  I need to go do laundry...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Freebie" Cookies!

After preparing Monday's dinner (a slow cooker chicken recipe), I had two egg whites to use.  The directions said to "do something else" with them, so I immediately thought of Meringues!  Not having my recipe handy though, I winged it this time!  I think they turned out pretty well too (considering I ate the entire batch last night after dinner).

So, how did I do it?  Well...I started with my bowl, I took my trusty old (and I do mean old, it was my Grandmother's, then my Mother's, and she gave it to me when we moved into our first house together) metal bowl and found space for it in my tiny freezer (more on that below).  You want your mixing bowl extra cold to help the egg whites foam and eventually form medium to stiff peaks (I find a medium peak perfect for these, but if you are trying to get "pretty" shapes, stiff peaks might be the way to go).  The cold bowl helps.

Now for the "recipe"...

Low-Carb, Low-Fat Meringues

  • 2 egg whites (I made Dana Kim's Kings Ranch Chicken found on page 64 of the this cookbook and this is what I did following her instructions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 3 Tablespoons Splenda (use more or less depending on your preferred sweetness level...and you can change this up for any sugar substitute, I just prefer Splenda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavoring (I used Anise Extract this time)
  • food color, optional (I find this handy for when I'm making several flavors at once)
Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line 2 or more cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Start by taking your mixing bowl out of the freezer, if you used a glass bowl, don't drop it.  Grab your mixer (I used my Gizmo with the whisk attachment), as a side note, if you freezer your beater(s) too, the process can go even faster.  Now, dump your egg whites into the bowl (you can use more than 2 if you are separating them just for this recipe, just make sure you don't get any yolk in your whites!) and add the Cream of Tartar.  Start mixing and keep going until you start to have soft peaks forming...this can take forever, but never fear you'll get there eventually.  Now, add your Splenda (or whatever sweetener you chose) and extract/flavoring.  You can use DaVinci's sugar free coffee flavorings, but cut down on the sweetener as that will make them sweeter too.  I chose Anise extract because a Licorice flavor just sounded extra good to me last night!  Start with 1/2 a teaspoon, if it wasn't enough flavoring, next time add 1/4 teaspoon more (but don't over do them, the liquid makes it harder for the egg whites to whip up).  Also, if you choose to color your cookies, do that now too, again though, be careful of adding too much moisture to the mix.  Go back to whipping/mixing your egg whites, it really does take a while to get medium peaks, longer for stiff, but be careful if you are shooting for stiff, if you go too far, they will "break" and all you'll have is a runny white white omelette mix that took forever to make.

Once you have medium peaks, carefully transfer the mixture into a Ziploc baggy or pastry bag.  I use the baggy because I can just toss it in the trash when I'm done.  Snip a small (tiny even) piece off a corner of the Ziploc and you are set to pipe your cookies!  I made these "pop in your mouth whole" sized, but you can make them any size you want!  They are totally dry and crumbly though, so I find this size perfect for not making too much of a mess with.  I managed to get 49 cookies this time, but this varies on the size you make them.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes (for this size), or until golden brown and not burnt!  Take them out of the oven and let them sit until cooled (10-15 minutes) so that they can finish drying out and un-stick themselves from the parchment paper.  If you don't wait, you'll lose parts of your cookies to the paper!

Now for the good news...the nutritional information!

Whole Batch...
Calories: 32
Carbs: 7.8g (if you count Splenda)
            0.6g (if you don't count the sweetener)
Dietary Fiber: 0g
Sugar Alcohols: 0g
Net Carbs: 7.8g (if you count Splenda, I don't)
                    0.6g (if you don't count the sweetener)
Fat: 0
Protein: 8g

Good enough to eat the whole batch, assuming you don't count sweeteners like me.  But if you can resist eating the whole's the nutritional information for a "serving" of 7 cookies...

1/7th  the recipe...
Calories: 4.57
Carbs: 1.11g (if you count Splenda)
            0.09g (if you don't count the sweetener)
Dietary Fiber: 0g
Sugar Alcohols: 0g
Net Carbs: 1.11g (if you count Splenda)
                    0.09g (if you don't count the sweetener)
Fat: 0
Protein: 1.14g

Essentially, this can be a nice "free" snack if you can control yourself (at 7 cookies), but even if you can't (and don't count the sweetener carbs) it's pretty easy on the daily carb count.  If you aren't worried about carb counts and are looking for a low-calorie, low-fat snack, this is perfect too!  Only 32 calories in the whole batch and no fat!

Friday, March 1, 2013

February In Summary...

This car took the most "visible" damage...
We have been so busy these last two weeks that I never got a chance to post about our accident!  Yes, an accident...  On the 19th, on our way home from lunch (My Mom, Garrick, myself, and the baby), we were rear ended at a stop light!  Luckily, none of us were seriously hurt (sore backs and such), but the lady that hit us was seriously injured and was taken by ambulance as she was losing consciousness and had a pretty nasty "ouchie" on her arm (or so I was told, I never saw it).  We still haven't got my car fixed (the 2005 Ford Freestyle), but it was drivable, at least enough to get us home.  The impact was enough to move us an entire car-length (my car length) out into the inter-section (and then we rolled a few feet because I closed my eyes and took my foot off the brake when I saw/felt it coming)!  While I was panicking (looking for my 4-way button and parking the car), Garrick and my Mom did a quick assessment of everyone in the car and then Garrick jumped out (after I figured out how to unlock the doors) and ran to see if the other driver was okay (and call 911 because she was definitely not okay).  I was so shaken up that I couldn't move from my seat, Gabriel very nearly slept through the incident and didn't react until I started crying (damn "Mom hormones").  I had my Mom get him out of his seat and handed to me (so I could check him and make sure he was okay), after that, I calmed down enough to realize that I was sitting in a car that was sitting out in the middle of a busy inter-section and did not want to be hit again while sitting in the driver's seat holding my infant!  So, I grabbed his blanket out of his seat and covered him up while standing on the sidewalk.  Of course, it was raining lightly, and he wasn't in the warmest outfit (and I wasn't even wearing long-sleeves or a jacket)!  Since before he was born, I have had a pink, flowery baby blanket that is fleece (the kind that looks like it came straight off a sheep) and fuzzy (synthetic fleece maybe?) in a bag in the car...I had someone get it out for me and wrapped that over the baby as well.  I eventually calmed down enough to let Garrick put him back in the warm car, where he kept an eye on me, watching every move I made, until he drifted off to sleep, safe in his car seat.

After giving all of our information to the police, we were allowed to drive our car home, leaving the tow truck driver to collect the other car, which was not drivable.  It was an eventful occasion, with 2 police cars (the responding officer and his superior that arrived a few minutes after he did), a fire truck (the accident occurred blocks from the fire station and they were on scene in under 5 minutes), and an ambulance too.  If Gabriel had been a little older, he would have loved that!
Our car seat...(stock photo)

The "bad" news of it was we had just moved Gabriel into his new convertible car seat about 7 days prior to that!  That would be the $300 car seat that we hemmed and hawed over getting (because of the steep price), but ultimately settled on because it is the only convertible seat that has "stay in car" bases (we ordered a second base that is still sitting in a box in my dining room) and excellent reviews.  If you're curious, it's a Graco Smart Seat, All-in-One Convertible Car Seat (in Larkin, exclusive to Babies 'R Us).  We chose this one also because it converts all the way to a booster seat with a weight limit of 100 pounds and a height limit of 57 inches (at 4 months old, Gabriel weighs around 18 pounds and is 27.5 inches).  Of course, for the last 2 weeks, I haven't been ab;e to use it (car seats involved in car accidents are considered unsafe because they can't guarantee there was no damage to the seat) and we are back using the infant seat until the insurance company (her's, not ours) buys us a new one.
Back up sensor & corner damage...
No clue what this is...spare tire well maybe?

My tail pipe is broken-ish...
We take our car in on Monday to have the estimate done and are still holding our breath that there isn't more unseen damage that will make it so that they total it (Blue Book estimate is around $9000 still).  The good thing I did, as far as escaping bodily injury, was take my foot off the brake as the impact occurred...letting the SUV take the full brunt of the impact.  Unfortunately, I have been told by people more "in the know" than me that there is more likely a lot more damage that is not visible because of that.  We know that the entire rear bumper needs replacing (including the back up sensors which are now dangling free from the bumper), the tail pipe needs fixing (or replacing), and whatever that big metal piece is...(it's right where the spare tire sits in the back of the SUV), other than that, we will just have to wait and see!

That wasn't my "whole" month, but a scary part of it anyway!  Now, to make up for all photos! 
 First time in the stroller without the car seat!  Sorry about the red eye...hard to catch good baby pictures!
 Nursing...but I love how I was able to capture his beautiful eyes!
 He's started to "discover" that he can interact with his environment!  Toys that light up or make noise are especially intriguing!  This is his Seahorse (Fisher-Price makes them and WalMart sells them for about $15)...he sleeps with it every night (it stays up against the crib wall at about head level so he can watch the lights...he sleeps in the middle of the crib)!  Here though, he was playing with it at the hotel while we were visiting family in Central Oregon at the begooning of the month.
 Can't forget the toys that don't light up or make noise though!  Flatofrog has recently been taken away again because he's coming apart again...
 Passed out cold during a nap while on vacation...
 New toy from Aunt Stacy!  This is an "allergy friendly" developmental baby toy that came with instructions on how to clean it so that it has no allergens attached to it (we don't have any allergies though).
 Visiting other relatives in Portland!  Here, he was visiting with his Aunt Nanny (my cousin Tana) while sitting on Grandma's lap.
 Finger sucking!
 Gabriel has developed a fascination with this box...and my coffee cups (no matter the color), he seeks this box out every time we go in the kitchen!
 First time in the high chair!  He didn't last very long this time, but since this, he's been in it a few times to play while we ate dinner and the other night he played in it while I cooked dinner (for most of it anyway, it was his dinner time too so Dad had to hold him while I finished up cooking our dinner).
Another new toy...this one was supposed to be a gift for someone else, but it accidentally got left out of the box and we had just watched Dumbo (with the dancing pink elephants on parade), Gabriel saw this and has been playing with it ever since!
Gabriel's first Valentine's Day!  Well, a few days after V-Day...I got him this onesie on clearance on the 15th for 48 cents!
More playing with his toys...this is what he does when I have to set him down (to run to the potty or whatever).  He pitches toys over his head and loses them...that's why he starts with so many!

Just sitting...(assisted, those are my legs on either side of him)!

The other "news" we got on the 19th was about my "sore thumbs"...I was diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel (hands going numb when slightly pretty much all the time), Trigger Thumb (joints catching...feels like the bones are popping out of joint and is very painful when they catch), and DeQuervain's (tendinitis)!  I'm going to Occupational therapy twice a week for the month of March in hopes that therapy will make it better.  I could do Cortisone shots, but from what little I can find on the subject, it isn't safe while Breast feeding (because no one has ever studied it).  I need to call my Lactation Consultant and see if she has any information that I couldn't find on the subject.  If all else fails, they could do surgery, but I'd rather not do that!

We now have a Johnny Jump up so that I don't "have" to hold Gabriel all the time ($13 at Sweet Repeat) and are looking for an ExcerSaucer that is affordable (or hoping the one from my sister gets here sooner rather than later...if not, I have other uses for them) so that I can entertain him without killing my hands.  I have them both taped right now and am supposed to be wearing splints/braces, but cannot do anything with them on, so I have only managed to wear them at night while sleeping and while driving.

Hand therapy is kinda awesome though...on Thursday I got to dip my hands in a paraffin bath, then into plastic bags.  Then, I got propped up on pillow things so that my hands were elevated and piled with warming balnkets, where I sat for a good 20 minutes.  Afterward, my therapist did ultrasonic massage on the right hand (it's a little worse off than my left), followed by a massage (of my thumb region) and muscle stretches.  Then, that hand got put in an ice machine while she massaged the left hand.  I got iced on my left hand as well, then she taped up my thumbs and wrists using sports tape.  After all was said and done, it was back in the splints and off to come back home where Garrick had been watching Gabriel and attempting to work at the same time (making both harder to do).  I believe these last 2 therapy sessions (at the first I got the splints) have shown Garrick a little bot of how hard my days at home really are...he's decided to take time off of work in the mornings when I have therapy so that he can take care of the baby.

I'm doing very well back on the low carb diet too!  In the first week I dropped 11 pounds!  Fat Bombs are my life savers...though Garrick thinks I should put more peanut butter and add more sweetener to them (that would up the carb count in them considerably)!  As are the new Atkin's Frozen meals (more on them another day), I have one for lunch every day (except some weekend days)!  I've made Mocha Mini Donuts (minus the glaze) in my mini donut maker (I only got 19 donuts, but if I figured out my carb count correctly, it's 2.7g net carbs for 3 of them) and Breakfast Bonanza Muffins (page 236 in Low-Carbing Among Friends, volume 1...also by Lisa Marshall) to have for fast, easy to grab breakfasts in the morning while I nurse.  Dinner seems to be where I'm having issues...but that's more because I'm just so dang tired by the time dinner rolls around!  Last night I made Coconut Flour Pancakes and scrambled eggs for dinner...I used my new (it was a Christmas present) Ice Cream Sandwich Maker (like the mini donut maker, but it makes 4 mini waffles at a time) to make "mini waffles" out of the batter!  I ended up making a double batch and serving a whole batch worth to both of us (a whole batch is 5.69g net carbs)...I was really light on carbs for the day and could "afford" it and I was also "starved" by the time I got to making dinner (not a good thing)!  A whole batch made approximately 12 mini waffles, so it could easily be divided among people and served with eggs and bacon, sausage, or any other kind of protein!  These waffles would make perfect "breads" for breakfast sandwiches too...

This morning I "missed" breakfast because I needed the car today and had to take Garrick to work.  When I finally got a chance to eat (after putting Gabriel down for his nap), I made a Muffin in a Minute!  I added a few dried Cranberries (the sugar free ones I made myself), a little orange extract, and about 1 tablespoon of Sugar Free Hershey's Chocolate Chips!  My Cranberry-Orange Chocolate Chip muffin was heaven with a good sized pat of butter on top!  I made it in a large glass dish and sliced it in half, it nearly filled my small plate!  And, with 1/4 cup of flax seed meal in it...I sure got my fiber for the day!  For the sweetener in it, I used a packet of Splenda with Vitamin B in it too, for an added "healthy boost".