Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Brisket Recipe

It's been quite awhile since my last blog post and I apologize for that, I've been busy with my very mobile 19 month old. Anyway we all know the holidays are coming closer and closer about a week to be exact, so I decided to put up the recipe for one of my favorite holiday meals, Brisket. I usually make this every year for Hanukkah because I am in fact Jewish but the truth is, this recipe can work for any holiday celebration and is absolutely delicious and super simple to make.

Serves: 6-8 people
Prep time: 15 minute

1 4lb brisket
1 and half cups of grape tomatoes 
1 cup of white white
2 and half cups of beef stock
2 packets of onion soup mix

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the grape tomatoes into the food processor and blend for about 2 minutes or until it looks like a nice tomatoey sauce. (You can also substitute 1 can of tomato sauce for this and skip this sauce if desired, I personally prefer to use the grape tomatoes)

3. Place the brisket in a large roasting pan and pour the onion soup packets all over the brisket then add the tomato mixture, white wine , and beef stock to the pan.

4. Place the brisket in the oven for 3 and half to 4 hours, until nice and tender. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool place sauce mixture over the finished brisket.

My whole family loves this, I actually just made it last night for Hanukkah in the picture above mine was served with latkes and asparagus you can use whatever sides you like. Tip: sometimes I will take the brisket out of the oven and cut a piece off and try it to make sure it's nice and tender just like in the picture below:

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to respond as soon as possible! Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I've learned since becoming a mother

Something tragic happened to me today to inspire this post.. my beloved cell phone that I've had for almost 2 years now is no longer. I've had this thing since December of 2010, it helped me document my pregnancy, take silly pictures, pass the time with games, watch videos, and most importantly kept me in contact with the rest of the outside world. When I didn't have it with me I felt weird like a piece of me was missing, everything was fine this morning until I made the biggest mistake I could ever make as a new mother.

I gave my phone to my almost 16 month old daughter, and she threw it in the toilet. What's really sad about this is while I was in the bathroom with her washing my hands I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be absolutely terrible if she threw it into the toilet?" and before I could even blink the very thing I had JUST thought happened. This is what's left of my poor sad soggy phone:

You can see the obvious water damage, I got it out of the toilet as fast as I could but it was already too late. RIP phone, you will be missed. This was one of life's lessons I had to learn the hard way, you don't give a 16  month old toddler your cell phone it's a bad idea, especially when you don't have money to replace it. That is one of the many things I've learned since I became a mother.

I've also learned to appreciate the things you do have, because at any moment they can be taken from you. Embrace you're family because they are the people who are going to get you through rough times. One smile from my daughter can make all the things that are wrong in my life so right. I've learned to become a more patient, loving, and affectionate mother. You have to be, when you have a baby your whole entire life changes I mean I personally think for the better, but I suppose not everyone out there agrees.

You have to be able to laugh sometimes instead of getting upset, like for instance when my daughter took the frozen peas out of the freezer and spilled them all over the floor and then ate them with her dog. I really wanted to be mad, but how could I be after seeing how happy she looked. So I laughed it off, children are innocent little creatures especially at this age. They don't know right from wrong yet, punishing them is absolutely useless because they don't understand.

When you have children you realize not to take life so seriously all the time you really learn enjoy every moment like its your last because you never know what can happen. Motherhood is such a difficult job, but also so darn rewarding. You don't get sick days or vacation days you give it your all because you love your child so much and you want to give them the world. My daughter is my everything and no matter what she does I could never stop loving her, because since she came into my live I've learned how to love unconditionally.

You're going to make mistakes as a parent I can guarantee this, but it's what you do after those mistakes have happened and what you take from it moving forward that matters. Obviously letting my daughter have my phone is not the biggest parenting mistake I could ever make, and I know this but it sure was disappointing to watch her throw it in the toilet. But just like any other time I learned some kind of lesson that will help me be a better parent moving forward.

Believe me I'm terrified of messing my little girls life up, but I know deep down I'm doing the best that I can and I will always do the best I can as a mother to raise her right so that is all that matters. Make sure you tell your kids you love them every chance you get and give them as many kisses and hugs as they will allow especially when they are young because they may not let you when you get older :). Oh and don't be so hard on yourself it's hard being a parent it doesn't come with a handbook.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Adventure at Children's Hospital... (Public Healthcare UPDATE)

So this is sort of an update to one of my previous posts Why I hate the public healthcare system, last week after all the trouble I had to go through I finally was able to schedule an appointment for my daughter. It only took 6 weeks but whatever. Anyway today was the appointment, it started off like any other morning wake up early, fight the usual horrendous LA traffic (it was so bad I even got a picture of it see below), keep my daughter happy so she is in a good mood when she meets the doctor.

We got there right on time at 8 am, checked in and then were escorted to the GI and Nutrition clinic on the 2nd floor. I have to admit it was a pretty nice facility, there were cool paintings on the wall, a flat screen TV (with nothing on of course) and plenty of comfortable seating. I filled out my paperwork while trying to keep my daughter from wandering, which isn't exactly easy when you're filling out paperwork. We didn't wait long at all, I think we sat there maybe 10 minutes at most before we got called in.

So the nurse does the usual, weighs her, checks her height, and attempted to get her blood pressure... nice try lady my daughter is a wiggler. And then we were taken into a room to wait for her doctor, Dr. Liu. I was expecting an older man with an accent like her primary pediatrician, but about 5 minutes later walks in a younger man probably early 30's no accent and VERY friendly.

We talked about what had been going on (the chronic diarrhea for over 2 and half months) her diet, family history of illnesses, you know the usual. Then he tried to examine her which is pretty difficult because she is quite strong and wiggles a lot. Then we get down to the whole purpose of her visit, you know the diagnosis. Of course it's impossible to know considering no tests were performed besides fecal tests, so without labwork, he tells me it could be a food allergy. She could be allergic to milk but it's not likely considering she has been drinking it for awhile.

Then the worst of them all, she could possibly have an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease, something I knew nothing about but anytime I hear "disease" I start to freak out. He tries to reassure by saying that she's kind of young to have it. I didn't even know what it was nor had I even heard of it so I just assume it's probably true. He ended up requesting lab work to test her for different things, and we will follow up in early November.

Now here's the really stupid part, instead of getting the labwork done at Children's Hospital which would be the obvious thing to do, I have to schedule an appointment with my primary pediatrician and get the labwork requested by him, because my insurance company only authorized an office consultation. So basically if I had it done there I would have to foot the bill. AGAIN THANK YOU PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.. you have truly inconvenienced me once again.

The nightmare never seems to end, and now I have to be concerned about her having Celiac Disease, which I googled on my phone as soon as I left, it basically is an  is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. (Yes I took that from the A.D.A.M. medical encyclopedia) So if she has it everyone has to switch to a gluten free diet.

I'm going to be really bummed if she has it, because there are so many foods she loves that she'll have to give up but I guess on the upside if they find it earlier switching to this diet won't be as hard for her because she's only 15 months old and doesn't understand. I think it will be harder for me personally than her but as a parent you make sacrifices for your children and I'm 100% willing to do it for her, besides hearing that she could possibly have Celiac Disease makes me wonder if I have it, I've had GI problems in the past and it's hereditary so maybe I should get tested too.

Bottom line, I'm no closer than I was yesterday to a diagnosis, instead I'm now worried more and even more frustrated with the public health system.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer is coming to an end...and I'm kind of sad

I haven't updated my blog in a few days because I have to admit I've been a little bummed, the past week hasn't been great, it's been really hot here and I found out my boyfriend got laid off from work. Not good when he's the source of our income and we were trying to move out, so I've been kind of sad I talk about being affected by the economy a lot in my blog posts but I really wasn't expecting this. My parents also got some other job related news that wasn't good so it's just been a sucky week lately.

And now summer is coming to an end, boo. I will admit I'm tired of triple digit days and worrying if the electric company is going to turn our a/c off due to flex alerts and chances of power outages, however; even though it hasn't been very kind to me I really kind of enjoyed summer. No school for me so I can dedicate all my attention to my little princess, BBQ food, swimming, beaches, fireworks, this year the summer Olympics, and quality time spent with my family.

My daughter loves to be outside in the picture above she's playing with the water table we bought her, I swear she could spend hours out there. But we love to swim, I really think she is going to be an Olympic swimmer one day, she can't wait to get into the pool sometimes. I'm going to miss the summer nights we would spend outside just watching the sunset and enjoying the breeze.

The afternoons we spent swimming (like today), and watching her and her cousin run through the sprinklers at night, it's just kind of sad. When hard times hit you it's these special moments that really help you through them, just thinking about all the fun we had together this summer makes me smile, and lets me know that even though things seem bad, we still have our family so I know we will be ok. Sometimes when I feel like I'm going to breakdown and cry, I stop myself and remind myself of all the good memories we've made this summer it helps me make it through another day. So good bye summer I'm really going to miss you. See you in about 10 months. Fall here we come, and please be kind to me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The truth about C-Sections

As a newly expectant mom, there are a lot of things you worry about, "Is my baby healthy, how long will this morning sickness last, how much will it weigh at birth, do I plan on breastfeeding, am I having a boy or a girl, what's labor like?" I could go on forever but you pretty much get the picture. About the time I reached the middle of the second trimester of my own pregnancy I started to think about labor and delivery more and more as each day would go by. I remember I would ask my OB/GYN questions like "What happens if my baby comes on the weekend, will you be there to deliver her?" or "Is my babies current weight normal? Is she big?"

I worried about having to push a 12 lb baby through the birth canal, and my boyfriend didn't help matters as he would continuously tell me, "I was a big baby, I weighed 10 lbs at birth and I had a big head." Why would anyone say that to their already fearful girlfriend? Later I found out it was lie but that's besides the point. I was terrified of child birth because I've heard all the horror stories, tearing during the birthing process, pooping while pushing, having trouble pushing, etc. Not to mention the effects on the body afterwards, peeing every time you laugh, the woman that does my hair told me she couldn't even sit or stand after she gave birth because the tearing she experienced was so painful.

By now I was so frightened I wondered what I had got myself into, but then I thought, "Maybe I'll just ask for a C-Section, surely it can't be as bad as natural birth." So I considered it for awhile but realized there was no point in asking just prepare for natural labor, besides many women do it every day and come out of the birthing process fine. So the weeks up to my due date I spent telling myself I would be fine and that I could do it, I even convinced myself that I wanted a natural child birth.

So the day finally comes around 7 am on May 10th I am in labor and boy am I in a lot of pain. I really was not ready for what the day had in store for me, around 7:30 I arrived, by 10 am I had my epidural. By 1 pm I was only 5 cm dilated, my daughter's heart rate had been quite high all morning, and the nurses were struggling to see movement from her on any of the monitors since I came in at 7 am. I was on oxygen all morning and afternoon. By 3 pm they informed me I would be leaving for an Emergency cesarean section because my baby was going through shock.

I remember being even more frightened than before, "What? I just got comfortable with the idea of having a natural birth and now I'm being forced to have a c-section? I'm not even mentally prepared for this." They prepared me for surgery gave me an extra dose of epidural, trust me when I tell you I was so drugged up, I felt nothing. At 4:27 pm on May 10, 2011 my daughter was born.

As I laid in the bed in recovery I had no idea what I was in store for, I was in recovery for over 2 hours and they kept asking me if I could move around, I responded with a "No I still can't feel my legs." The nurse thought it was weird and said the epidural should have worn off by now. I started to feel scared, "What if I'm paralyzed?" An hour later they moved me back to my room and put these strange boots on my feet to prevent blood clots. I was still worried because I couldn't feel the lower half of my body, the nurse in my room assured me I just had a really good epidural and I should be glad I can't feel anything because once I do, it will not be pleasant.

Sigh, boy was she right about 2 hours later I regained all feeling and I was in worse pain then before. No one  warned me about this, when reading up on the whole birthing process, sure they tell you it's painful but they don't go into much detail about it. Not only was my incision site oozing blood for about 2 days, the first day you're on bed rest and the very next day, you're forced to get out of bed and walk around the hospital.
I remember the nurse got me out of bed to change the bandages and clean me down there, yea you're supposed to squirt water down there to keep things clean, anyway those first steps out of bed were the hardest. At that moment I wanted to die it hurt so bad, but I must do it. It was awful, why didn't anyone tell me any of this? My mom had 3 c-sections and was in the room when I was informed that I was getting one, she could have told me.

The nurses also tell you to walk around the hospital because you have to try to release the gas inside your stomach, not to mention the constipation pain. This was too much, NO ONE TOLD ME ANY OF THIS. I wish I would have known how difficult this would be not just on my body physically but also mentally. I was in the hospital for 4 days and when I got home I remember not wanting to do anything let alone take care of a baby.

For about 2 and half weeks it hurt to get in and out of bed, it took me about 4 weeks before I could roll over again, by 8 weeks the pain was virtually gone, I mean it was still sensitive to touch but nothing like those first few weeks where it hurt to even move. I'm natural child birth is a lot better than the horrible pain of a C-section. These are thing that you don't hear, no one told me that when I tried to go poop after that I would be crying because it hurt so much. No one warned me about the recovery period, how big my scar would be, any of this. It can sometimes take a while to regain feeling in that area, it took me about 4-5 months after birth. Although this didn't happen to me in particular, mothers who have c-sections sometimes have a more difficult time breastfeeding too, due to the epidural it makes the baby sleepy and it's difficult to get them to latch on.

I have no idea why anyone would actually voluntarily ask for such a thing. So this is why I'm writing about this, to tell the truth about cesarean sections. To prepare the expectant moms out there that might have to go through this, it's not as glamorous as it seems. If you can mentally prepare yourself for it now then maybe it will be easier for you later. I just wish someone would have told me the truth about c-sections, it may have been a lot easier on me. As hard as it was I now have a beautiful little girl and I would totally do it all over again in a second.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why you shouldn't feel guilty if you don't/can't breastfeed your baby

So I'm working on a special post about breastfeeding, sort of an impromptu guide for new moms. It's probably going to take me awhile before I post it because even though I know a lot about this topic, I'm still doing some more research to brush up. Before I post that I want to post this first, for those of you out there feeling guilty about not breastfeeding your child or stopping. You shouldn't feel guilty.

A few days ago I was having a conversation with one of my friends about breastfeeding, she was going on about how great it is for your baby and how anyone who doesn't should be ashamed of themselves for giving their child anything but breast milk. She said "It's unnatural to not breastfeed." I could feel myself getting annoyed by the minute, but because she's a good friend I refrained from putting her in her place even though she clearly deserved it.

This is a topic that is very dear to my heart, I breastfed my daughter until she was about 6 months old. I actually wanted to and planned on breastfeeding her longer but due to low milk supply I was forced to stop. When I realized my milk supply was low, I tried a variety of different things to help. Mother's Milk Tea, herbal supplements, etc. when I realized it wasn't working I was absolutely heart broken. I remember I cried for a month. The thought of having to give my daughter formula saddened me.

I felt like I had failed as a mother because I could no longer feed my child, it was awful. My lowest point was probably about a month after I had stopped breastfeeding and I had an appointment to see my doctor for a physical, she was asking me how I was doing and that was it I lost it and burst into tears.I have a great relationship with my doctor, I'd been seeing her for years even before I got pregnant, she was more like my older friend then my doctor, so I felt comfortable telling her how I felt.  I told her exactly how I felt, like I've failed as a parent because I'm not breastfeeding anymore. I thought, "Why me? Why can't I feed my child, other women are able to breastfeed for years why can't I? I must be a bad mother because I can't provide for my child" I said all of those things to my doctor.

I remember she came over to me and gave me a hug and some tissues and said this to me, "You're a great mother whether you breastfeed your child or give her formula. Obviously there are benefits to breastfeeding, but you did the best you could. Your daughter is healthy and growing just fine, she's hitting all her milestones and is doing just fine. So what if you give her formula that doesn't make you a bad parent, lots of women give their children formula and they grow up to lead normal healthy lives. You shouldn't feel ashamed that you had to stop, you're a good mother."

Hearing her say those words just made something in my brain click. Why should I feel guilty that I stopped breastfeeding, I did the best job I could, I breastfed her for as long as I possibly could. Breastfeeding is not an indication of how well you are parenting. I have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about, I am a good mom, I've done everything I could to make sure my child was healthy and well nourished.

So if you're reading this and you're feeling guilty because you don't or can't breastfeed, stop. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about, breastfeeding is not for everyone and it can be difficult and mentally draining. As long as you do what's best for you and your child, that's all that matters. Well there are obvious health benefits to breastfeeding it doesn't mean if you don't breastfeed that your child won't grow up healthy. I only breastfeed my daughter for 6 months and she didn't even get sick until she was 1. She's only been sick twice in the 15 months she's been alive.

Plenty of women give their children formula and they grow up to normal healthy adults, there is absolutely no reason that you or any other women should feel guilty about not breastfeeding. So the next time you go to scoop that formula into the bottle, remind yourself, "You are a great mother, you're doing a great job caring for your child, you love your child more than anything and you're doing the best job you can. You have nothing to feel guilty about!"

This is my daughter on her 1st birthday she looks pretty happy and healthy to me, so I don't think giving her formula hurt her one bit, therefore; I have nothing to feel guilty about and neither should you!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Is it Ok to take your young child to a late night movie?

I've thought about this a lot since I've become a mom, is it ok to take young children to see adult movies late at night? When I first started dating my boyfriend we used to see late night movies all the time, I think the staff at the local movie theater probably knew us by name because we were there virtually every night. I never would see young kids at the movies though, I just assumed it was something people didn't do.

When I had my daughter over a year ago it was hard for us to get out. I would be exhausted from breastfeeding nearly every 2 hours and wasn't getting much sleep, and I was too afraid to leave her alone. I remember once my mother offered to watch Milania when she was a little over a month old so my boyfriend and I could go out to eat we were gone maybe 2 hours but I could remember calling every 15 minutes or checking my phone to make sure everything was ok, it was awful.

My boyfriend used to joke and say let's take Milania to the movie's she is only 3 months old she'll sleep the whole time, and I would say, "Are you kidding? Who does that, that's rude, suppose she starts crying it will interrupt the movie and everyone else?" I just didn't think people did that, until last month when the Colorado shooting occured and I found out a 3 month old baby had be injured, among other kids. When I heard about it instantly my heart dropped, I felt sad for all the victims of the Colorado shooting but what stung the most is that there WAS kids there and they WERE injured.

I wondered, why there was kids at a midnight movie not because I'm judging anyone's parenting, I know how hard it is to be a new parent and to never get to do anything. I just hate that kids were there because I know had they stayed home they wouldn't have had to go through something so traumatic and they would be safe. 

The reason I'm posting this today is because last night my mom babysat our daughter so we could go see a movie, the movie was at 9:05 pm and there was a family that brought their 3 year old son with them. This was the first time I've ever seen that happen, and my boyfriend asked me, "Why would anyone bring their 3 year old to a late night movie?" I couldn't answer him, "I don't know." I will be completely honest having that little boy there was a little bit distracting. The movie was PG-13 but the language was iffy and there was A LOT of violence, that wasn't the distracting part though the movie was over 2 hours long and half way through the little boy started crying because he was tired.

At first it wasn't very loud but 20 minutes later it was a full on cry, it was hard to focus with him crying, part of me wanted to go over there and comfort him and tell him it would be ok. I wanted to tell him to relax and just let his little eyes close and fall asleep, I guess it was the mother in me. Obviously I didn't do that, but the other part of me wanted me to ask his parents if they could take him outside until he calmed down because his crying was disturbing my much needed date night with my boyfriend. 

Again I did nothing I just sat there and tried to ignore it. I'm not judging people who do, do this. I understand what it's like to be a mother and not get time to yourself. I just don't know if I think I could do it, I would be too worried about my child bothering others, or getting up and running around. And after hearing about the Colorado shooting I don't think I want to take my daughter to even a Disney movie past 4 pm. It's a scary world out there, 2 years ago a man was stabbed a during a late night movie at movie theater across town for answering his cell phone, after another man asked him to "get off the phone" when the man refused, the other man stabbed him.

I just don't think I could do it personally. So I leave it open for public debate, is it ok to take young children to late night movies? I would love to hear what others thing so please feel free to comment on this post.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why I Hate the Public Health Care System

As everyone knows since the economy started to tank in 2008, nearly everyone has been hit with financial difficulties and has had to make some sacrifices in some ways. I am no exception, when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I was umemployed like many others and my boyfriend's job did not offer health insurance.

So I was forced to apply for Medi-Cal, I didn't necessarily mind it, afterall my older sister and her kids had been on Medi-Cal for years and did ok. Everything was going ok for the first year, fastward to July of this year. 


Anyway around the beginning of July my daughter came down with a horrible case of diarrhea just out of the blue she would have diarrhea 6-8 times a day. It was so bad that she had an awful rash on her bottom, sometimes her butt would be covered in blood because her skin was raw from being wiped so often. It was really bad. 

I took her to the doctor and he informed me she just had a stomach virus and gave me cream for her diaper rash. A week later it continued so we went back, he said the same thing and gave us a different cream. Week 3 we took her to Children's Hospital they told us the same thing, its a stomach virus and to keep doing what I was doing. I go back to the doctor the next week, and he says he will give me a referral to a specialist.

A week and a half later I get my referral and I call to schedule an appointment, but they tell me my doctors office has failed to send of the authorization papers, so I call my doctor and ask them to fax it. This goes on for a 2 weeks. The next week I call Children's Hospital again, they tell me they got it, but they can't do anything until my doctor's office sends over the lab work.

So again I go back and fourth between my doctor's office and Children's Hospital and still nothing, it's going on week 4 and I still haven't got an appointment. My daughter is still having diarrhea, not as bad but still has it every day. Her referral is only good til September 28, 2012 so if I don't get an appointment before then I have to start all over. This is very frustrating, I feel like nobody seems to care she is just another child stuck in the public health system.

Obama Care was passed and is supposed to offer health care options to the public, but if this is what we are going to be subjected to I don't want it. And then I'll be forced to pay a penalty tax because I don't want this crappy public health care the government is offering me. It's ridiculous I don't feel I should have to go through all this trouble to get a freakin appointment, would I get in any sooner if I knew she was dying? Who knows, for all I know she could be but nobody would care because she is part of the public health care system.

Why don't you do something about that Obama, or even Mitt Romney? Anyway I hate the public health system and can't wait to not be a part of it anymore.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Super Easy (And quick) Kid Friendly Recipe: One Pan Lasagna

As a mother I know sometimes it can be difficult to keep the house clean, and if you're working, work an 8 hour shift, take care of the kids and still get dinner on the table all in one day. It doesn't help when you have a picky eater and don't you enjoy cooking. And then cleaning up a big mess after... NOT FUN.

Growing up my mother hated cooking, so I learned how to cook by myself at a young age. Since I have years of experience in the kitchen I've learned how to take recipes like this one that I found online, and make them simple so anyone can make them without fail.

 The great thing about this lasagna recipe is that if you have picky eaters or don't have all the ingredients you can make easy substitutions and it will still taste delicious. You can also add more or subtract any of the ingredients in this to your family's liking. For example, my daughter likes hers with lots of sauce so we put a little more in, but if your family isn't big on sauce but likes a lot of cheese you can add more cheese.

One Pan Lasagna

Serves: 6  Prep Time: About 10 minutes Cook Time: 25-30 minutes


1 lb Italian sausage (You can use turkey sausage if you prefer or don't have Italian sausage)
Half a box of lasagna ribbon noodles, broken into thirds (I like to use whole wheat to make it healthier but you can use any kind you like)
2 Jars of Marinara Sauce (If you don't like it real saucy then just use 1 jar)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese (you can use more or less depending on your tastes)
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon of fresh oregano finely chopped (if you don't have fresh oregano dried works just as good)
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil finely chopped (again dried basil works just as good)

You can add any other ingredients your family likes if you wish like mushrooms, onions, garlic, etc.


1.) Begin by dividing all the cheeses except the ricotta into three equal portions (don't worry if it's not exact it will still come out fine) then set aside.
2.) Using a large non-stick skillet* with cooking spray or 1 tablespoon of oil (I like extra virgin olive oil) remove the sausage from the casings into the pan and cook on medium/high heat for about 5 minutes or until sausage is brown. While the sausage is cooking gather the rest of the ingredients.
2.) Once the sausage is finished cooking remove it from the pan and put it aside for later, then place the skillet back on medium/high heat. Add half the jar of pasta sauce to coat the bottom of the pan.
3.) Now we begin layering if you haven't already done this, begin breaking the lasagna noodles into thirds and place them in the pan anyway you like, the add some a sprinkle of sausage, and the first portion of cheese. Now start adding 4-6 small dollops of ricotta cheese over the top with a small spoon. Do this 2 more times while adding the rest of the sauce each time you start a new layer so there are a total of 3 layers.
4.) Once you've added all the ingredients add 1 cup of water to the top making sure everything is covered, if you need to press ingredients down with a spoon gently. Cover and let it simmer on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
5.) Check the pasta to make sure it's done but pressing down on it with a fork, if the pasta still feels firm let it cook for an additional 5 minutes.
6.) Once the noodles are cooked and the cheese is bubbling, now add the oregano and basil and remove from heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes too cool before serving. Sprinkle additional cheese over the top when serving if desired.

*If you don't have a non-stick skillet make sure you use plenty of cooking spray or enough oil so the noodles don't stick your pan and create a mess to clean, also make sure if you're not using a non-stick skillet that after you cook the sausage and before your coat the pan with sauce, your re-spray or oil the pan.

This recipe also tastes great the next day, so if you make too much you can save the leftovers and eat them for lunch or again for dinner. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Adventure with... StriVectin-SD Part 1

As every woman who has ever been pregnant knows, pregnancy can a wonderful thing. Some would even say a miracle from god, and while pregnancy truly is something special that only a woman who has experienced it could understand; it can also be torture on your body. Morning sickness, weight gain, the constant kick in the ribs from your little one, and the dreaded STRETCH MARKS.

If you're anything like me, you bought every cream you could and slathered it on several times a day to help prevent those ugly marks, but unfortunately it did not work. I only gained about 35 lbs while I was pregnant so I stayed within the normal range, however, it didn't seem to matter because I got stretch marks all over my stomach. Dermatologists and even my OB/GYN told me "Don't worry they will fade with time," I'm sure that's true but maybe I would like to start wearing my bikini now.

I'm always complaining to my boyfriend about how ugly my stretch marks are and how much I hate them, somewhere along the way he must have actually been listening to what I said because two weeks ago he bought me a bottle of the uber-expensive stretch cream StriVectin SD. (As pictured below)
I received my bottle in the mail today, and decided I'm going to document my results and post it on my blog as a "review." According to the company the special ingredients they use are supposed to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks. There are other ingredients in StriVectin that are said to be beneficial to your skin but I'm not going to get into that right now.

DISCLAIMER: I'm going to let everyone know right now I have an older version of StriVectin-SD, the newer bottles contain Niacin, however; this product has been around since December of 2002 and used by millions worldwide. Therefore it's good enough for me.

I will be using this product as instructed by the directions on the back twice a day every day for the next 8 weeks, and I will post updates on my progress throughout the next 8 weeks. They won't be daily updates because I really don't have the time and I want to give the product time to work. 

Day 1:

This is my before picture:
Scary I know haha. As you can see I have stretch marks all over my lower stomach, hopefully within the next few weeks they won't be so bad, I guess we are going to find out. If this doesn't work then it's laser surgery for me.

If you would like to purchase your own bottle of StriVectin you can buy at a variety of in-store retailers such as: Nordstroms and Costco are the only two that I personally know of but I'm sure there are others depending on where you live. You can also purchase it online directly from their website: and/or Amazon, among others.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dealing With Mommy Guilt

Maybe I am the only one who struggles with this, maybe I am not I really don't know, but I have a lot of mommy guilt. When I found out I was pregnant in September of 2010, it was a complete surprise I mean after all I had just turned 24 was working on finishing my degree, unmarried, and wasn't planning on having kids until I was at least 28. But life is funny like that and sometimes throws you a curve ball, anyway while I was pregnant I really never thought of how I was going to feel once I gave birth and held that baby in my arms. My only worries were: how much labor and giving birth would hurt.

Fast forward to today, my daughter is now 15 months old and I am scared (please excuse my foul language) shitless. I often feel stress and anxiety about my parenting skills. Despite the immense experience I have with kids, from working a pre-school, and helping raise my niece and nephew,  I still feel so in over my head. I find myself constantly asking myself, "Am I doing this right?" Should I give her that extra bottle, just because she says "Mama baba?" Should she even still be drinking out of a bottle after all she is 1 now? And she loves her pacifiers they make her so happy, I mean look at her:
 She seems so happy, but everyone keeps telling me, "You need to try and take those things away, the longer you wait the harder it will be." Thanks for the unwanted reminder. They are comforting for her and they make her happy, plus if I take them away I feel as though she won't understand why I'm doing it. I know they have to go sometime but I don't feel like either of us are ready to part with them. So I start to feel guilty, like I am doing her an injustice, I'm enabling her. After all I'm the mother, not her. This feeling is very frustrating.

And then there's the bad mom thoughts, I get these thoughts a lot, "Am I a bad mother because I let her watch TV at 15 months old?" "Am I bad mother because I leave her alone for 5 minutes so I can try to make a phone call to her doctor?" I can see her from the table. When she bumps her head on the couch, "Was it my fault because I didn't get to her sooner?" "If I check my phone or browse my tablet does that mean I'm not giving her enough attention?" I do all these things, so I must be a bad mother... this is what I find myself saying to myself way too often.

When you become a parent all this unwanted parenting advice comes at you from every direction, even from people you don't even know. It's very difficult and I have to say it gets to me sometimes, I feel the guilt but I never really talk about it. I told my boyfriend how I felt yesterday for the first time, he tried to make me feel better and assured me I'm the perfect mother, however; it's nice to hear but I know I'm still going to have these fears and I must deal with the guilt. I had a very difficult time growing up and experienced many horrible things that no one should ever have to go through, sometimes I think those experiences are what are fueling these fears, I just don't want to screw her life up or have to experience anything that I did. It's a cold world out there.

I know she knows I love her and deep down I know I'm doing the best that I can. And I know she loves me too, but that doesn't make motherhood any easier, after all; she is only 1 right now. Some days are better than others but I guess I'm just going to keep on fighting through this. Perhaps I should seek therapy I don't know, but I hope one day this will guilt will pass and I can accept the fact that it's ok to make mistakes. For now I need to just keep reminding myself kids don't come with instruction manuals, you do the best you possibly can, and if you make a mistake you learn from it and keep going. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My love hate relationship with Yo Gabba Gabba!

So anyone with a child at least 2 years old has probably seen this show. With its bright colored characters, to the catchy songs like, "Party in my Tummy" or "Keep Trying," the funky dance moves you learn in every episode, Yo Gabba Gabba is sure to catch the attention of both parents and kids alike. 

My daughter absolutely loves Yo Gabba Gabba, she watches it every single day several times a day. She loves to dance and try to sing the songs, if I would let her she would probably want to watch it all day. I on the other hand love that she enjoys it, (here comes the but) but have found that it can get annoying fast. They aren't showing new episodes at the moment so they tend to show the same episodes over and over and over, while most episodes are cute they become annoying after seeing them several times a week.

And it's repetitive at times, I don't know how many times I have heard "Keep Trying" because its in every episode. I mean how many times do they have to keep trying? And I absolutely despise that white character Gooble (as pictured above). He is always sad and crying in every episode, why would anyone put such a depressing character in a children's show? 

Despite the down falls, I don't think Yo Gabba Gabba will be exiting my house anytime soon. It's some what educational and my daughter loves it, so it stays.

Yo Gabba Gabba! airs everyday on Nick Jr. at 12:00 pm pacific time and also 9 pm and  9:30 pm pacific time. If you would like to purchase tickets to Yo Gabba Gabba! Live you can purchase them here Ticketmaster.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Very First Adventure... as a blogger!

Hi and thanks for stopping by, as a stay at home mom to a one year old daughter Milania, I have quite a bit of time on my hands to say the least. I often visit blog sites for recipes, craft tutorials, hair tutorials, you know all the normal things and I find them to be quite helpful and a nice way to pass the time. However I've been wanting to start my own for awhile, so here I am doing it finally.

First I will tell you about my myself, my name is Megan Katz I just turned 26 in June and I live in Southern California. I have a beautiful daughter Milania, who just turned 1 in May. This is her:
She is my absolute pride and joy, her father works in aerospace while I stay home and raise our daughter. We currently aren't married but we are working on that (I hope anyway lol), I'm a full time mom but also a full time student, I'm working on getting my Bachelor's Degree in Nursing. I love cooking, swimming, and trying new things. With Milania every day seems to be an Adventure, hence the name of my blog, Adventures in Mommy Land. 

I plan on writing about my journey into motherhood, a future housewife for now we will just call me a house girlfriend haha, recipes, baby products and many other things that interest parents. I hope you enjoy this journey with me.