Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Recipe: Bruschetta and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I took the basic recipe from and switched it up a bit. I love this recipe because it's something different to do with boring chicken.

Serves 2-3. Prep time: 15-20 minutes. Cook time: 50 minutes.

  • 1 can of diced Italian style tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of dried basil
  • 1/2 package of Chicken Stovetop Stuffing
  • 1 package of boneless skinless chicken breast halves (3-4 per package)
  • Italian dressing

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix tomatoes, 3/4 cup of cheese, and basil in bowl. Add stuffing mix, stir until just moistened.
3. Place chicken breasts into large freezer bag. Pound with mallet or heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch think. Remove from bag, place top side down, and pour thin layer of dressing on chicken breast. Spread chicken with stuffing mixture. Starting at narrow wend, tightly roll up each breast. Put in baking dish seam-side down and repeat with other breasts.
4. Drizzle with dressing.
5. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with rest of cheese, bake 5 minutes more.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Homeless American Girl Doll

You don't know what American Girl dolls are? Then you've been living in a child-free bubble, my friend.

American Girl dolls are extremely popular and expensive dolls with accompanying story books. You can buy them elaborate wardrobes. There's even an American Girl Place in New York where you can get your doll's hair done and eat lunch at a doll-friendly table for a mere 24 dollars a person.

I used to like the American Girl books. They're fun, nice pictures, and the girls have nice historically accurate adventures. I even had a Samantha doll (the Edwardian era one for those of you not in the know.)

The latest one is (drum roll please)....a homeless doll.

That's right, you heard me. This beautiful doll pictured above (in the oh-so-precious sundress) is homeless. And she costs $95.

Her "story"? Her dad abandons the family and she and her mother are forced for financial reasons to live in their car.

Here's my issue with this.

1) This trivializes homelessness. We do not introduce serious literary themes like gangs, drugs, and mental illness to children until they are at least in middle school. The 6-9 year old girls playing with these dolls will see homelessness as another "adventure". They'll more than likely pretend they are homeless and pretend to be living in a car.

2) It makes it so it seems that living in your car is the ONLY option. There are so many resources out there for people to utilize--I hope that no child ever gets the message that sleeping in your car is the only option.

3) None of the proceeds go towards helping homeless children. I would forgive the first two issues if the company was doing this to raise awareness and help children....but nope. No dice.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The "Necessities" Round-up

Since Miss Mo-mo is at the three month mark, I thought I'd go through and evaluate all the baby gear that I have...what I can't live without, what is nice, and what is ridiculous. This is only what I've used in the first 3 months, I have plenty more stuff that I'll evaluate at the six month mark!

Oh, and some of this is season dependent-- if you have a baby during the winter, you'll want some extra clothes and blankets.


Nursery items
  • Crib/mattress
  • 2 or 3 sets of crib sheets
  • 2-3 waterproof mattress pads
  • Breathable bumper. She started getting her feet caught in the bars around 2 months.
  • Baby monitor. I just have the basic one.
  • Battery powered mobile. We have this one. She didn't care for it until she was about a month old. Now it's the only way I have time to shower in the morning.
  • Baby dresser. Instead of one with drawers, I got this one with soft crates at Target. Great for organizing, I have a crate for PJs, pants, onesies, bibs, shoes and socks, etc.
  • Changing table. It's nice to have a designated place for this. Mine has a nice little railing so that while I wouldn't leave her unattended, it still feels safer than one without.
  • Rocker and ottoman. Check out Craigslist if you don't want to pay a lot. I have spent more hours in mine than I can count
  • Floor lamp with 3 way bulb. Goes from dim, brighter, brightest--good for those late night diaper changes.
  • Pack N Play with bassinet level. Not only did she sleep in this in our room for the first month, she also napped in it. It was great to be able to wheel her around the house in it when she was newborn and sleeping all the time.
  • Diaper pail. I don't have a fancy one and it doesn't smell.
  • Clothes hamper
  • Bibs. Lots and lots of cloth, soft bibs! Your baby turns into a drool machine at about 8 weeks. Mine soaks three a day.
  • About 10 onesies in newborn and 0-3 month. Really, you don't NEED more. Matching pants are nice depending on the season.
  • 2 nice outfits in newborn and 0-3 months. Again, I had way too many of these.
  • About 5-6 pairs of PJS. My baby wears them two nights in a row unless she spits up. The gown types are okay for the first two weeks and then become a pain. The BEST is the zipper ones (Gerber has some)--you don't want to mess with snaps in the middle of the night.
  • Socks
  • Baby hats
  • Crib shoes--I like these. While not the cutest, they are very functional! Those itty bitty sneakers are awfully cute but a pain in the butt to put on.
  • Mesh bag (like the kind to wash lingerie in) to wash baby socks and hats so they don't get lost.
  • Burp cloths. Old style cloth diapers work great for this.
  • Diapers! I started cloth diapers once she hit 6 weeks (see earlier post). Before that, I used Pamper's Swaddlers which were great because they had an indicator line to help clueless parents know if your baby was wet.
  • The Boppy. Love it! My husband loves it too.
  • Pacifiers and bottles: While a necessity, WAIT before you buy a bunch of these, or at least save your receipts. Many babies will only take one brand and it takes awhile to figure out what brand. I have tons of pacifiers that I opened and sterilized that will never be used because they are the wrong brand. I have about 9 Medela bottles that fit with my breastpump.
  • Breast pump and accessories. I love my Medela Pump in Style Advanced. You might want to wait to purchase one until you know if you're going to stick with breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding stuff: Lansinoh, pads, nipple shells (if your nipples get sore, these help a bunch!), and icepack/heating pad for the first week when your breasts are engorged.
  • 2 nursing bras and 2 or 3 nursing tanks
  • Sterilizer kit
  • Dishwasher caddy
  • Bottle brush
  • Baby bath tub
  • 3 hooded towels
  • 6 baby washclothes. We have 20 for some reason and there is no way we will ever use all of them.
  • Johnson's baby wash, the type in the yellow bottle. It's both body wash and shampoo, no reason to buy anything else.
  • Aveeno scentless lotion. It was gentle enough for our newborn's skin.
  • Don't do what I did: Buy a travel system and realize that the stroller doesn't fit in the car. I do like our Graco Snugride system but we had to buy a Snap 'N Go stroller for going places. It's so much easier when your baby is young to not have to worry about unstrapping them.
  • Diaper bag with travel wipe container, insulated bottle holder, and changing mat.
  • Baby carrier. I love my sleepytime wrap, it's the only way I could get Mo-mo to nap for the first two months of her life! The Snugli is okay, not the most comfortable but easy to use and she likes it.

  • Swing. It has saved my sanity.
  • Bouncer/baby papasan chair. We use this when we're eating, she can sit and watch us. It doesn't put her to sleep though.
  • Lovie blanket. This is the first toy she really showed an interest in!


  • Baby meds! Stock up on baby tylenol, Mylicon for gas, gripe water, thermometer, aspirator, rubbing alchohol, baby q-tips, medicine eye dropper, etc.
  • Wipes
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Receiving blankets (I would say about 5) and 2 fuzzy soft blankets for floor use.
  • Swaddle-me or some other swaddle blanket. These are WONDERFUL! I didn't think I wanted one, I just figured I'd use regular receiving blankets but she broke through her swaddle too frequently. Get two in case one gets spit-up on it.
  • All Free and Clear detergent. Just get one bottle and wait to see if your baby has sensitive skin because you might be able to use regular detergent. Oh, and Dreft is overpriced and overperfumed!
  • picture books
  • Baby robe. While cute, they are utterly impracticle. You'll just use a hooded towel instead.
  • Baby comforter. It came with our bedding set and has done nothing but collect dust. I use a quilt or fuzzy blanket for sitting on the ground with her. There's no room for us to use it as a wall hanging or anything, and it can't go into the crib because it's a suffocation risk.
  • Pack N Play sheets. Don't have them, might be nice to have them but my baby has never minded.
  • Changing table sheets. I just fold up a receiving blanket and put it over the pad.
  • Tummy time mat. I have three of these and never use them. I prefer to put a soft blanket on the ground and use the Boppy instead--and Mo-mo likes that better.
  • Bottle warmer or wipe warmer. Don't have either of these, and I think they'd be more trouble than they're worth. Besides, at some point in time you'll be out and you won't have these things around...easier to just not use them than to get your child used to them.
  • Bottle sterilizer. I just use the microwave bags or run them through the dishwasher. Then again, I'm not a germaphobe.
  • All the baby clothes. No, you don't need nearly as much as you probably already have.
  • Baby undershirts/tee shirts. Mo-mo just wore onesies and it didn't bother her umblical cord stump.
  • Baby handprint kit. I tried to do this with my sister-in-law and we failed miserably at it.
  • She hasn't yet used the high chair and most of her toys. Those can wait until your baby is a bit older if you need to.