Monday, January 30, 2012

The cake.

The plan was for me to make Teagan's cake this year.  I was just going to use the Funfetti stuff from Betty Crocker and decorate the outside with pink and polka dots.  Mark that up as a big FAIL.  I thought I would just bake them in circular pans and then cut them down to size and decorate them. Yeah, have you ever tried to ice a cake you've cut? I hadn't. Until Teagan's birthday party. It doesn't work. At all.  So, instead of a birthday cake Teagan got a birthday cupcake in an ice cream cone with candles and I crumbled the cake into cupcake holders, sprinkled polka dot sprinkles and put little party flags in them. No use in wasting a good cake! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Polka dots & cupcakes.

This year we decided on a polka dot theme.  Simple. Colorful. Easy to decorate.  We kept it simple this year with decorations and focused more on having fun with our family and friends.  I had to keep reminding myself that even if I hadn't decorated Teagan would have had a great time surrounded by the people she loves and who love her. 
I'll just let the pictures do the talking on this one.
*side note- Kyra Mae is not in any of these pictures as she slept the ENTIRE party*

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paper Mama Challenge

I'm joining with The Paper Mama for her current challenge. Favorite January photo.  Of course it's going to be of Teagan since her b'day was in January! Sweet girl.

Have your own favorite photo from January? Link up here:

No heat curl.

Ya'll I finally tried it.  The infamous "no heat curl". It was easier then I'd ever imagined and with a little tweaking on my part it will be a staple in my "go to" hair tool box.  You know, the box that until now has only had the ponytail and lazy bun in it?
The only problem for me was my hair takes to anything. I mean anything. That's a good thing, right? WRONG.  I can have my hair in a ponytail for 5 minutes and it makes a permanent, until washed, crinkle. Super annoying.  So, as you can imagine the amount of curls that formed in my hair was a bit overwhelming.  I was channeling Shirley Temple.  Perhaps next time I won't wrap so tight or for so long...

*If you want to try this look out I found an easy vlog from The Paper Mama on how to do it!*

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dearest Teagan

Dearest Teagan,
Oh my Mercy, sweet Little Bear.  You turned two yesterday. Two. As I type that number I shake my head in blatant disbelief.  Can it be that you have been in our lives for two years?  Sometimes I can't remember life before you.  It seems so surreal.  These last two years have gone by at unheard of speeds.  Some moments seemed to creep by then the other times could have broken the world record for speed.
You have been my most efficient teacher, my sweet girl.  In the past when things got hard or difficult I would run away.  I would look for the easiest way out and run full steam ahead to it.  With you I couldn't run.  With you I was made to stay and fight.  Having you in my life has made me stronger and more willing to fight for the things I want and love the most.  To type an almost unavoidable cliche' you have made my life, and your Daddy's, better.
Your daddy loves you I think more then you will ever know.  You've changed him as much as you have changed me.  He was a good man before you entered our lives but something about you triggered something in him.  There is a certain look in his eyes when you reach out for him.  That look has been in his eyes since he first held you.  It's a look of unconditional love and fierce protection.  Your recent thing to do with Daddy is to give "bear hugs".  You squeeze each other tight and I always wonder who is going to let go first.  I don't think either of you ever want to.  You've also started "reading" to him at night.  Sometimes all four of us don't get to say goodnight together.  While I am getting Kyra ready for bed Daddy puts you to bed.  There have been times when I've gotten Kyra down but I don't come out.  I just listen.  I listen to you reading mine or your daddy's Bible and then begging to be rocked a minute.  I don't dare come out because I would never want to interupt your special moments as father and daughter.  As daddy and his little bear. 
You continue to amaze us, Little Bear.  I know I say that often and to anybody who will listen.  I know I am bias and see you through rose colored glasses more often then not.  But you do amaze us.  Your intelligence, your kindness and your genuine innocent curiousity.  You are truly coming into your own.  Every day there is something new.  Some new word or funny face or emotional meltdown.  There is never a day like the day before.  You are a very emotional little being.  To be honest it sometimes drives me and your daddy crazy but we have to take a step back and realize just because you're a smart booger doesn't mean you are an adult and you are still figuring things out.  So, your emotions will continue to be extreme until you can get a handle on them.  Honestly, I will be glad when you can regulate your emotions but I pray you don't lose your passion while you learn regulation.
This morning I was the one who got you up and out of bed.  When I picked you up you held on tight.  Tighter then normal in the morning and you didn't want to be put down.  Usually we are in a big hurry in the mornings and I don't take time to just be because usually there isn't time for that.  This morning even though the minutes were speeding by I made time.  I sat down in the middle of your floor with you on my lap wrapped tightly around me.  Legs around my waist and arms around my neck.  I just sat there rocking, rubbing your back, smelling your hair and talking sweetly to you.  You were telling me about your dreams. About how you and Kyra played baby dolls.  It was one of those moments that was so simple but one forever forged into my memory.  I pray for many more of those time please stand still moments.
I love you Little Bear.  I love who you are.  Who you are becoming.  Who you will be. 

Forever and Always,

Crock Pot phenomenon

I'm still a work in progress when it comes to the crockpot phenomenon.  I have made my first really good meal in one.  I found the recipe on after googling crock pot pork loin recipes.
Teagan asked for seconds on this one so I am marking it up as a successful meal.  One that we will put on our recipe list!

Once again, I did make some changes.  I'll give the original recipe and then tell you the changes I made.  In trying new recipes I've realized that I don't always have to make it like the recipe says.  I can almost always alter it with what I do have.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Loin

Cook Time: 9 hoursIngredients:

  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, 4 to 6 pounds
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Wash pork roast, trim excess fat, pat dry, and rub with garlic halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then prick the roast all over with a fork or skewer.In a cup or bowl, combine 1 cup of the brown sugar, the mustard, and vinegar. Rub all over the roast.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours. Pour off the excess juices.
combine the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar with cinnamon; Spread the mixture over the top of the roast. Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 1 hour longer. 

What I did differently:
I didn't have balsamic vinegar, I had Apple Cider Vinegar so I used that instead. 
Also, I forgot to prick the pork but it was crazy juicy anyway.  Like fall of the nonexistent bone juicy.
I also added some onion and apple slices just for added flavor. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The scale.

I've had a struggle with weight most of my teenage and adult life.  I've never been classified as overweight medically.  I've really technically never been overweight, although there have been significant times in my life where even at my smallest I felt as if I weighed 8,000 pounds.  In my struggles with my weight I swore to Josh that when Teagan got old enough to get on the scale we would no longer have a scale.  We've reached that point.  It makes me anxious to my core.
This morning after I weighed myself Teagan started "Teagan do it! Teagan do it!".  I let her stand on the scale, because at this point she doesn't really know what it does.  She just knows that when she stands on it numbers pop up.  After her numbers popped up she looked at me with her inquisitive toddler face and I told her the scale said she was super healthy!  She smiled, got off and then wandered off to our bedroom. 
 I think the time has come to retire the scale.  Honestly, I think it is going to be the equivalent of what I felt when we went skydiving.  Terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  Maybe liberating is more the word.  I will not live with my ankle tied to that scale ever again.  Neither will Teagan and Kyra.  They will grow up surrounded with positive thoughts and with a focus on healthy bodies.  I will grow up surrounded with positive thoughts and a focus on a healthy body.  
So, the scale is gone. Goodbye, scale.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sickness be GONE.

Typically we are a healthy bunch in our house.  Occasionally some sort of sickness darkens our doorstep.  Actually, when it comes it usually sweeps through our house like a tornado.
Currently, Teagan has Strep Throat.  We had no idea but thankfully we caught it really early and she's on meds now, which is another story.
On Sunday, she was just not herself.  She cried when I dropped her off in her classroom at church and she was super clingy all day.  That afternoon she threw up twice and was burning up to the point I could have fried an egg anywhere on her body.  The stomach bug has been going around pretty bad around school and church and WalMart and Target and well, you get the picture.  I figured we were dealing with the stomach bug.  I made a doctor appointment anyway and we were seen the next morning.

Teagan woke up with "eye boogies" and I put all thoughts of the stomach bug out of my head.  We were dealing with another ear infection.  I just knew it.  WRONG. Come to find out Teagan has Strep throat.  We almost didn't find that out because it was in the very beginning stages and took forever to show up as positive on the Strep Test.  Thankfully, her doc waited the extra five minutes just in case.  WHO KNEW that throwing up was actually a symptom of Strep for some people?!? Not I!
Teagan in now on penicillin but I was worried about it for the first 24 hrs.  I'm not sure if it was the meds or if it was her fever and her body trying to fight off the strep but she was just all out of sorts.  Within a 24 hour period she went into an inconsolable fit twice.  She seemed to be completely out of it.  She didn't know what she wanted. She didn't want to be held but she did. Anything I did, or anybody else did was wrong even if that is what she asked for.  At one point she wanted me to play and that involved just pushing a toy to and from the kitchen while she stood there whining/wailing.  It was bizarre.

Honestly, I got scared during those two fits.  I was also in tears.  I've heard more and more instances of toddlers I know or know of having a crazy high fever that resulted in febrile seizures.   I didn't sleep a whole lot because I was scared she would have one and I wouldn't hear it or know it.  Thankfully we the Tylenol/Motrin combo (alternating them appropriately) knocked her fever down to just warm and not steaming hot so we didn't have to experience that. 

This bout of sickness has been especially hard with Kyra in the equation.  Bless her heart she hasn't gotten a lot of attention from me the last few days because Teagan has been so sick and wanting me.  Thankfully we've had support from family who loves Kyra almost as much as we do and could care for her.  Basically I tended to Teagan and when Kyra got hungry I would pass Teagan off for 20 minutes and then switch with whoever had Teagan. 

Hopefully the rest of us won't get it and sweet Teagan will be well enough for her birthday party on Saturday.  She woke up in good spirits this morning and had a good day today.  Tomorrow she's heading back to school and hopefully continues to be on the up and up!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Night Night Stories.

We've read Teagan a "night night" story every night since we started her on an actual sleeping schedule.  So, about a year and a half ago.  As she has gotten older she has picked out the books she wants to read.  Lately, she's wanted to read "Mommy's Bible" and by read I mean read.  She will sit down in one of our laps and open the Bible and start reading.  We can't understand a word she says but she is serious and concentrating and reading her little heart out.  It is the sweetest thing ever.  I can't wait until she can slowly read my Bible for real.  I hope she always wants to read Mommy's Bible because I will always allow her to do so. 

What's in my bag.

As a mom of 2 under 2 I officially have a fully stuffed and stocked bag.  A bag that is almost busting at the seams.  A bag that efficiently does its duties as diaper bag and pocket book when no other bag seemed to be able to step up to the plate.  Affordably. 
I'm not doing the January photo challenge thing for a reason I'm not sure of.  Mostly because I have a lot on my plate right now and that would be one more thing I'd have to remember.  I did decided to follow along with today and the what's in your bag theme. 

So, here goes:

1) Kleenex- as cute as the "to go" packets are they add up price wise.  So, I just pull a few out of a box and put them in a baggie. Wala-kleenex to go.
2) Kyra's diapers- we use Huggies Pure & Natural
3) An extra sleeper for Kyra
4) nursing cover
5) wipes- we use Huggies Natural Care wipes
6) Boogie wipes- the grape smelling kind
7) Ella's Kitchen pouch- just in case Teagan gets hungry.
8) Teagan's Jonah and the Big Fish book
9) Teagan's toys
10) My Dolce and Gabbana wallet...$1.50 at Goodwill! Yes!
11) First Aid Kit
12) placemats
13) planner
14) Lanisoh (not just for my "girls" but for chapped cheeks, dry nose and chapped lips)
15) gas drops for those "belly bubbles"
16) Germ-X
17) re-usable shopping bag (thanks, Nessa!!)
18) Pens. Lots and lots of pens.
19) fingernail files
20) Badger's lip tint and shimmer (again, thanks, Nessa!)
21) change purse
22) phone
23) snacks for mommy
24) bows, I have 2 girls, what do you expect?
25) paci holder

What all do you have in your pocket book? Does your bag spill over frequently like mine? What is in your bag that you can't live without?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quick and Easy Meal.

Josh found this meal online the other day and we tried it last night because the cubed steak we'd taken out had not thawed completely yet.  Oddly enough we had the exact ingredients it called for, right down to the same brand of sauce.  
It was really good and so easy Teagan could have done half of it by herself, seriously. The only complaint I had was the lack of protein.  Next time we will be adding chicken or sausage and probably some veggies just to add some nutritional goodness.

What you'll need:
1 box penne pasta
1 (15 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
1 (24oz.) jar Marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

What you need to do:
Cook pasta according to directions and drain.
Mix the sauces together in a large bowl.
Add the mozzarella and stir to combine. Then toss in the penne and toss to coat.
Pour pasta into 9x13 baking dish and cook on 350 for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 minutes. 

*we also didn't bake it this go 'round but next time we probably will*

What kind of goodness are you going to add to this recipe?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hands that explore.

I've talked about how frustrating breastfeeding has been at times this go 'round.  And sometimes it is but there are moments when I don't want to be anywhere in the world except right there in that rocking chair in Kyra's room feeding her.  I rocked and fed Teagan in that same chair and I hope my girls will be able to do the same with their children. 
Here lately, Kyra has found her hands. She loves to explore with them.  She especially loves to explore with them while she is eating.  We are truly coming in to my favorite few months of breastfeeding.  The moments where time stops and we can enjoy each other.  Just the two of us.  
As Kyra eats her hands gently explore.  Sometimes she grabs ahold of my shirt and hangs on the entire session; demanding my undivided attention.  Sometimes she sweetly rubs my back letting me know she is calm and comfortable.  Sometimes she decides I need to sing and she starts directing my music.  Sometimes she pretends her hands are birds that are flying all over the room just waiting on her to get done so she can play with them. 
Slowly but surely breastfeeding is becoming sweet and calming and full of sweetness for me and my sweet Kyra.  We're taking it day by day.

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Dearest Teagan.

Dearest Teagan,
My sweet sweet Little Bear.  You will be 2 in thirteen days.  I can barely breathe when I think about it.  I looked at pictures of your last almost two years the other day and basically sobbed my heart out.  It's all happening so fast.  Just like they said it would.  Everybody told me it would fly by and that I should cherish every single thing I could.  I pray that I did but I fear that I didn't.  There were many times where I was distracted by chores, by dinner, by the TV, the phone or the computer.  Times where I thought it would be okay if I multi-tasked.  Now, I'm wondering to myself what did I miss?
I'm sure there were smiles that I missed.  Giggles that I would die to remember all over again.  Times where you might have reached for me and I just missed the opportunity before you got distracted.
Even though I'm sure there are times I have missed I know I've seen and will forever remember so many more things then those missed moments.  Even though there are times I missed I know without a doubt that you know how much I love you.  I see it in your eyes and your smile when I pick your sleepy head up out of your bed in the mornings.  I hear it in your voice as you call out to me for whatever reason.  Being sure that you know my love for  you makes it all right. It makes it all worth while.  It makes everything else fade away. 

Forever and Always,

Crock pot recipe number 1.

I went flipping through one of those old home church recipe books yesterday for an idea for dinner.  I came across lasaugna in a crock pot but ended up having to alter it a bit because I didn't have everything for it. 

Basically this is what I did:

Browned the meat and then combined the sauce with it. 
The recipe said to break up lasaugna noodles and place in the bottom of the crockpot.  I just used ziti noodles instead.
Layer the noodles, meat and cheese like you would normally with lasaugna or ziti. *with the first layer of noodles also add 1/3 cup of water*
Put the crockpot on high for 3 hrs or low for 5 hrs (maybe a little longer, not all crockpots seem to be created equally) and cover.

I threw this together Sunday after we got home from church and it was finished by dinner time! I didn't have to worry about throwing something together and it taking time away from my family.  It took 15 minutes to prepare and BAM! Sunday dinner.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teagan's Aunt Livy.

I happen to be one of the lucky few who married into a family of super smart, talented and geuinely kind people.  I actually ENJOY being around my in-laws. 
Josh's youngest sister, Livy is making top grades in the Nursing program at CAROLINA. Hello, girl is smart as a whip and plans on doing good with it.  She wants to be a Midwife.  Too bad it will be a few years too late...Anyway, I digress.  Every year she's been at Carolina she has participated in the Dance Marathon that benefits the N.C. Children's hospital.  This year is no different.  I know times are tough but if you're feeling generous here is the link to her donation page

And just in case you are feeling generous and's a little Teagan-Aunt Livy adorableness as a thank you!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Best Christmas picture ever.

For the last few years we have always done a funny Christmas picture with Josh's family.  This year was inspired by "the stache"...

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Genesis 16:13

We are teaching Teagan a Bible verse every month.  I talked about it earlier and promised to keep you posted on progress.  Here was how the first night went.

*I wrote the verse on the mirror and was reading it off to her and having her repeat it before brushing her teeth*

Me: Teagan can you say this Bible verse? You.
Teagan: You.
Me: are
Teagan: are
Me: the
Teagan: Teagan
Me: the
Teagan: the
Me: God
Teagan: Gawd
Me: who
Teagan: Teagan
Me: who
Teagan: Teagan
Me: who sees.
Teagan: who sees.
Me: Genesis
Teagan: Gensisis
Me: 16:13
Teagan: 16:13

It was so cute and I was so very proud of her.  We've made up a little song that basically repeats the verse three times and then what verse it is at the end.  We've worked on it for three days and see can say it by herself if we ask her to say her Bible verse.  We're not going to start a new one just yet but we might be looking at two a month! We're so proud of her!

Friday, January 6, 2012

And the winner is...

The Reich's!!

Congrats! You won the sample box of Ella's Kitchen goodies! Just e-mail me your address and I will get it sent your way! Congrats!

Wanna hear about The Reich's favorite Christmas memory?
They said "Ooh, we love Ella's Kitchen. My favorite Christmas memory is from high school, when our parents surprised us with a trip to Europe as a gift. We were jumping around and screaming like crazy!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's getting easier.

Slowly but surely the postpartum depression symptoms are easing off.  We've had a lot of prayers being sent our way since I let the cat out of the bag and I couldn't be more thankful knowing we're not the only ones whispering about our problem in God's ear. 
One of the big issues that rose out of the postpartum depression was breastfeeding.  I got frustrated really easily if a feeding didn't go well or didn't start well.  Slowly we are learning each other.  Slowly I am realizing how Kyra ticks.  For example, if she is tired and hungry she would rather sleep now and eat later.  As simple as it seems it took me about two months to really realize that.  Now, if she doesn't want to latch on either side for more then a few minutes then I burp her and try to re-latch her.  If that doesn't work then I know she's sleepy and I don't fight it.  She'll eat when she's hungry.  Thankfully, she is right on track weight and height wise so there is no reason for me to try and force her to eat.  Not that I could anyway. 
I've also learned that her temperament is more like Josh's.  Teagan's was/is so much like mine that I just assumed Kyra's would be too.  It's not and it's taken me a little while to figure that out too.  Realizing that makes it more bearable that I don't need to rock her to sleep at night or for naps.  She likes to lay and just stretch and squirm around more then she really likes to be held.  It's not my fault and it's not the postpartum depressions fault.  It's just the way she is.  Josh isn't big on being touched all the time and neither is Kyra.
So, thankfully, no damage has been done and every day is getting better. 

This has been a constant verse sent to me over the last few months.  Oh how I love my prayer warriors.

 "fear not, for I am with you;
  be not dismayed, for I am your God;
 I will strengthen you, I will help you,
  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Working and Breastfeeding. The basics.

Let's just get real...working full time and trying to breastfeed is hard.  Somehow we get it done.  Here are a few things that have made it easier on me.

First off, I am lucky enough to have an office to myself.  One where I can close the door and close the blinds and nobody sees me.  That definitely makes for easier pumping.  So, I unfortunately don't have any tips for bathroom pumping.
I have a Medela electric pump.  This has helped too.  It makes for quicker let down and quicker "emptying".  This means overall quicker pumping time.
I wear easy to pump in clothes.  I wear clothes I would nurse in partially because I also feed Kyra on my lunch break.  Button down shirts over nursing tanks work wonders. 
I breathe and relax WHILE the pump is doing it's thing.  It doesn't help for me to really relax before I attach the pump to my breast.  If I start slowly breathing and imagining Kyra while the pump starts then the letdown is quicker.
I have a paper towel or a small hand towel ready.  I wipe while removing the pump funnel.  This prevents leakage on my shirt or bra that screams "I JUST PUMPED" to the world. 
Bring an extra set of nursing pads and leave them in your pump pack.  This way you can change them after pumping so you don't have to worry about yeast infection, etc from wet pads.
I drink at least 12oz of water AFTER I pump to replenish myself and make sure I don't dehydrate.
I also take the herb Fenugreek at night before I go to bed.  I ran this by my OB and lactation consultant before I did this so if you want to try it, make sure you run it by yours too.

Lastly, and most importantly, don't sweat it.  With Teagan I stressed so much over not having enough milk.  As she got older and as the weeks after maternity leave went by I started getting a little less while pumping.  My body was getting use to her needs and I was basically forcing it to stay on task.  At 9 months we'd ran out of extra supply and I was literally pumping for the next day.  Then that wasn't enough and we had to supplement an ounce or two a day.  It killed me.  It shouldn't have.  This time, if that happens, I won't stress about it.  Teagan didn't grow an extra limb and neither will Kyra.  Letting myself off the hook has really helped this go 'round.

Do you have any breastfeeding and working tips?  If so, share them with me! I'm sure other Mama's would love to hear them too!

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our charge as parents.

I've talked before about how Josh and I are believers in Christ.  We are professing Christians and we do not in any way shy away from it.  Honestly, I should proclaim it much more then I do, something I plan on doing more in 2012.  Not in the screaming "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL IF" kinda way but in the if you ask, I will most certainly tell. 
Anyway, we've been looking at easy ways to introduce Jesus, God and the Bible more and more to Teagan and Kyra.  Teagan is at the age where she is a sponge.  The kind that sops up water quicker then you can pour it.  I came across a blog on Pinterest that had some easy to learn Bible verses for toddlers. I think this is going to be something we start with Teagan.  Kyra isn't, obviously, quite old enough for it but I feel like she'll catch on pretty quickly when the time comes. 
The game plan is going to be starting out learning one a month.  If Teagan starts catching on quicker, which I think she might, then we will learn more then that.  We will stay at a slow pace and not shove it down her throat.  We're going to make it fun and not make it a burden for her.  It will also help keep Josh and I accountable in our walk.  Just to make it even more fun for her we might enlist the help/participation of her two best pals Matilda and Miles David...Jeana? Tara?

The first one we plan on teaching Teagan is Gen 16:13 "You are a God who sees".  If you'd also like to join in with us let us know! The more kiddos learning scripture the better!

Thanks Betty Crocker!

My sister-in-law bought us the wedding version of the infamous red Betty Crocker Cookbook for our wedding present.  I've dabbled with a few recipes in the past but here recently I've started searching for quick, easy and healthy meals for the family.  Seeing as we all get home around 6pm and the girls go to bed between 7:15pm-7:45pm.  That doesn't leave a lot of time for cooking and eating and bathing and brushing teeth get the picture.
I was flipping through the cookbook the other night and found the Wild Rice & Beef Casserole.  I'll give you what the recipe calls for and then tell you how we modified it and plan on modifying it even more next time for quicker cooking. 

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 package (6.2 oz) fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)  
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain.Meanwhile, make rice mix as directed on package—except omit butter. Stir rice mixture, soup, milk and pepper into beef. Spoon into casserole.
Cover and bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and mixture is hot.

*Here's how we altered it and plan on altering it next time*
Instead of beef we used fresh pork sausage.  I think it would have been too plain with just hamburger meat.
We didn't use Cheddar cheese.  We just used whatever was in the refrigerator.  I think it was the taco mix kind?   
Next time I will prep the night before.  Cook the meat and maybe even the rice so I can just throw it together as soon as we get in the door and it will be done 30 minutes later.  I also might throw some corn or peppers in there to get some veggies in.  The possibilities are somewhat endless!

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs