Friday, January 27, 2012


Ok people, canning meat is the best ever. 
It is single handedly the most convenient thing in my life!
I am serious. 
 I use it probably 5 times a week because the other nights we are eating leftovers.

So without further ado, how to bottle chicken:

Make sure you have enough bottles, run them through the dishwasher to be sure they are sterile.

Watch the ads and when chicken goes on sale clean the store out. 
Chicken is usually anywhere from $2.00+ / lb. 
A good price on chicken is anything under $1.79 / lb. 
I got this chicken for $1.49 / lb at Macey's.

Cut off additional fat at rinse

Put the chicken in the bottles, fill to about the first rim

Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt on top

Take a clean damp rag and clean off the rim so the lid will be sure to seal.

 Put all your lids in warm to hot water before placing them on each bottle.

 Now we are ready to can!

The key to the whole process:
The Pressure Canner.
Ask your grandma, your mom, aunts, see if anyone has a pressure canner you can use. 
If not, you can order one online starting at about $200 depending on the size.
It is so worth it and it will pay for itself over and over again!

Fill it about a 1/4 way full with water.

Add your bottles. 
Depending on the size of your canner you can process 8 - 18 bottles at once.
When you close your canner you need to do it at opposite ends. Like the front one first, then the back, then the left, then the right, etc.

Turn your burner on high. 
The canner will need to get hot. Keep the pressure release in the open position. When it starts to get hot steam will come out of the pressure release that is called "exhausting." It need to exhaust for 10 min. Once 10 minutes is up close the pressure release. 
When the release is closed the pressure gage will start to climb. 
The gage needs to be about at about 14. 
When the gage gets to 14 you will time it for 70 minutes. Also you will want to turn down the burner gradually so the gage stays at 14 for the entire 70 minutes. (it will eventually be at about medium heat)
After the 70 minutes turn off your burner completely and let the pressure gage get back to zero (it will take some time, maybe around 15 minutes). Once the gage is back to zero you can flip the pressure release open to remove and pressure / steam and you can open your canner. 
Be sure you open your canner the way you closed it with opposite sides.

You have bottled chicken ready to be thrown into any dish. 
I use it in soups, casseroles, crockpot dishes, salads, literally anything that calls for chicken. 
It's already cooked so it makes things SO FAST!
 It is delicious and so moist. 

It's not just chicken either you can bottle pork, roast, ground beef, etc. 
(The ground beef is a little more difficult because you have to brown it before bottling. But it saves you from having to brown it later when you are cooking a meal.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Deep Thoughts - On Breastfeeding - Part Deux

By: Jack Handy April Millar

 *Breastfeeding is excellent for posture. You no longer have the desire to slouch because when you do your nipples touch your belly button.

*After watching Bridget play with my empty water bottle I thought "Water bottles are shaped like breasts." So in essence, none of us have given up the boob.

*Don't buy your nursing bra two days after you give birth when your boobs are engorged. After a couple weeks you could put both boobs and a fist in one of the cups to try and fill it out. And after a couple of months you will never wear it again because it's so large your baby could sit in it.

*The breast pump will become your best friend, maybe even before your husband.

*If your baby starts to prefer the bottle over you, so you make her eat only from you, but then you decide one day to give her a bottle again, don't be surprised when she gags. 

*Breastfeeding definitely gets better: I trained Bridget to tickle my neck whenever she is eating.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What is a stronger word for "sore?"

Thanks Bridget for giving a visual to how I feel:

I have started to work out again.

I guess being pregnant and having a baby are some pretty good reasons for talking myself out of going to the gym. 

However, now that my baby is 4 months old and I am still 30 lbs overweight I didn't have any more reasons not to go.

Now my body is saying "yeah, you think you can take an entire year off? I'll show you!"

And I respond with a whimpering "owie."

Monday, January 23, 2012

4 whole months!

4 months old TODAY! 
She is seriously that old. 
This time last year I had just found out I was pregnant and now I have a 4 month old.
Who LOVES to smile. 
(and wave non intentionally)

*She loves books.
I can read to her and she lays quietly in her bed and stares at the pictures.

*Her favorite book right now is the Velveteen Rabbit, and she loves to snuggle her stuffed bunny.

*She loves to spend time with her daddy doing whatever he likes to do. 
So that means a lot of cars and spending time at the auto parts store.

*Her cheeks have gotten so big I can't keep my lips off them.

 Other 4 month milestones:

*Bridget talks in her sleep (I am serious).
*She loves to sing!
*She loves to hold things, especially her Binky.
*She has two teeth; cut the first on Jan. 15th and the 2nd on Jan. 18th
*She weighs a whopping 15 lbs. but is still pretty short measuring in at 22" which means she still fits in a lot of her 3 month clothes.

Somehow she has started to get really fun. 
I don't just snuggle and stare at her all day. (just most of the day)
She can now interact with us and gets excited to sing songs and play games, she laughs and screams. 
It is just so amazing that she is a little person.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Best Friends

Over New Years we went to Idaho to spend some time with Trevor's family. 

Bridgey has two arranged best friends that she was so excited to meet for the first time. 

 First, her cousin Hailey. 

Born three weeks exactly after Bridget they even share the same middle name. 
p.s. Bridge had this outfit on and someone said she looked like a clown. I totally don't see it with the ruffled collar, polka dots and stripes, and a flower that will spray you with a stream of water...

Comparing to see who is the more "healthy" baby. 
I think it came to a tie.

Here are all the Millar grand-kids born in 2011. 
Carli wasn't havin it. She is way to big to hang out with babies.

Trevor's best buddy ever is his cousin, Tyler. 
We were so excited when we heard Tyler and Callie were pregnant too, and even more excited when we found out we were both having girls!

Here the little ladies are meeting for the first time.
I think Bridget is wishing she had Holland's hair and I am sure Holland is coveting Bridge's thighs. 

Bridget and Holland, 6 weeks apart and best friends.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Bridget has something she would like to say: 
(interpreted by mom)

Hi Guys! 

 Yes, I have some big news. 
I have been working so hard, it's been a very productive week.

Can you see 'em?

It took mom a really long time to figure it out, AND I was giving her all sorts of hints. 
Like drooling a lot 
and chewing on my entire fist.

 I even started rubbing my tongue over my tooth (it feels so cool) 
and mom just thought I "discovered my tongue."

 It actually took my Grammy to figure it out. 
By that point my 2nd tooth was almost through.

It's tough business, cutting teeth, but luckily I can handle it, even with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Survival of the fittest, right? 

Which means part of being prepared is being fit. 

So I have had to find ways to work on getting fit. 

Unfortunately sugar is a major weakness, in fact I think my emotional attachment to sugar is a genetic disorder.

But my sister gave me this fantastic recipe which is filling and very healthy.

Doesn't this look Delicious??
It is.
Quinoa Salad (recipe courtesy of Sarah Lindsey)

1 Tbl oil
2 cup Sweet Onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup quinoa rinsed, drain
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, divided

Heat oil, medium heat
Add onion, pepper, salt, for 5 minutes
stir in next 4 ingredients 
Add water; boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 14 minutes
Add beans and 1/4 cups cilantro
cook uncovered for 3 minutes (liquid absorbed)
Transfer to bowl; sprinkle cilantro and feta

-I don't like cilantro so I completely omit it. 
-Chop up some lettuce and spoon some of the quinoa mixture along with sliced grapes and top with your favorite dressing.
-I also like to add toasted almond slices. 
-The remaining quinoa mixture I put in a tupperware in my fridge and add it to a salad for lunch everyday. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Empty Nest?

So my parents are empty nesters. 

All of their little birdies have spread their wings and flown away.

Let me ask you, what would you do if all your kids were grown up and on their own?
Traveling would be on the top of my list.
What did they do?

They filled their nest right back up.

With Chickens and Bees.

Lets just say if the country collapses I know where to get eggs and honey.

Does it count towards my preparedness if they are prepared?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I said I would never do this

Raise your hand if you think Bridgey is a pretty dang cute baby.
Yeah me too.

Although I said I would never solicit people to help me win a contest, that was before I had a baby and now here I am, on my knees....

My awesome cousin-in-law Callie is a photographer and is having a cutest baby contest.
If you feel so inclined to vote for Bridget I would love it!

All you have to do:
1. Follow this link to her facebook page: CallieMaePhotography
2. Then you must "like" her page
3. Then go to the cutest baby ever photo album and photo number 2 is Bridget, just "like" her picture and if she gets the most likes by January 15th we win a family photo session!!! (don't you want to see more pictures of Bridget?)

This is the picture:
Thank you!!
Also if we win Bridget will give you the biggest slobbery-est kiss you could ever ask for! 
Now that is a real incentive.

In other recent news Bridget discovered her singing voice last Thursday and has been singing none stop.

It is the sweetest thing I have ever heard.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Theme for 2012

I have noticed many people out there are publicly posting their resolutions, maybe to be held accountable?

I get that. 

Although I have tried new years resolutions in previous years I have found that I have the personality that I need to remember that everyday is a clean slate rather than every year or else my goals would be botched January 2nd.

So this year I decided I would have a theme instead of resolutions.

My theme for 2012 is:

Be Prepared.

No, I don't feel the Mayans were ominously prophesying the end of the world in 2012 with the end of their calendar.

However,  I do feel I am not exempt from natural disasters or unplanned circumstances.

Also, I just know that I am a much happier and relaxed person when I know I am prepared.

So what does being prepared entail? 

Good question. 
The more I do research / think about it, the more I feel overwhelmed. 
So, I will be taking this year to little by little get prepared and if you are interested I will be posting about it.

I have a long way to go. 

Luckily my parents gave us a jump start with a 72 hour kit for Christmas. It is amazing.

You know how when you get so excited about a vacuum or a kitchen appliance you know you are officially an adult? 

Somehow having a baby has a similar effect, except for now I know I will go to any lengths to protect my baby. So when we opened the 72 hour kit I felt pure relief, elation, excitement... all the good emotions.

I hope you join me on my journey for preparedness. 
Because this little lady is counting on me.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Legit Baby Shower

About two hours after Bridget was born when my midwife came in to say goodbye, Bridge was still naked in my arms. 

I asked my midwife if we would be bathing her before we left the birth center?

She responded by telling me it is very beneficial for the vernix (the white gooey stuff) to absorb into her skin, and that she personally didn't bathe her babies until they were about a week old.

Ok then, being one who washes their hair one maybe two times a week (tmi?) I am totally down with that. 

We first bathed Bridge when she was 6 days old and saying that she hated it is an understatement.

I honestly think it was the first time she cried since being born. 

I figured it would get better, a couple more times I tried with the same reaction. 

She just wasn't a fan of the bath.

So I decided we would try a shower. 
oooohhhh how she loved the shower!

I would have her up against my chest and she, on her own, would lift her head back until it was in the water and would lazily close her eyes and relax.

 Please don't judge your men too harshly, I know they can't be as manly and have as much chest hair as mine. Sorry to flaunt it so obviously.

One thing is to be said for this little girl, she knows what she wants and she will make sure we figure it out real quick.
We just love her.

 Melts my heart every time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

You Are Invited

We have a joke in the Steed family. 

It started a few years ago, my siblings and I put some apple juice in my mom's nice crystal goblets (who hasn't right?) 

Of course we were sipping on our beverages with our pinky's in the air toasting each other, laughing and having a good time.

My sweet mother came into the room to survey our activity and with a disapproving look she said "You guys, that is fake smoking and we don't do that."


In utter confusion we asked:
"Fake smoking, mom?"

"Yes. That's not good, we don't do that."
At this point she still hadn't pick up on her mistake and we all thought it was pretty funny so what did we do? 

We made fun of her through sarcasm.

Raising our fingers to our mouths, in our best impression of someone with emphysema we start "fake smoking" and toasting to things like "good health." Or "Here's to two lungs."

Through a bashful grin she realized her slip up and we all had a good laugh.

Since then any time a wine glass is used it's known as fake smoking.

So this past week with the majority of my family home for Christmas and some bottled grape juice from my mom's home grown concord grapes, we knew we needed to have a formal dinner party with some inevitable "fake smoking" to really class it up.

Please enjoy the spontaneous photo shoot that ensued:

Trevor & April

Geoff & Aleena

Bryce & Sarah

Craig & Ruthie

Douglas Steed

You better believe that 3 months after having a baby I can fit in my wedding dress!!!

Well maybe not completely....

We loved the guys outfits, they seemed to all reflect their personalities.

Before even seeing Geoff I heard Aleena say "You look like a gay bartender"
...can't argue with that.

We did eventually get around to having dinner. 
The casserole was delish.

**There is no intention to offend anyone that is gay, drinks, or smokes: real or fake.