Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GF Hamburger Helper

Made a new yummy dinner tonight and thought I'd share the recipe. I pulled ground beef from the freezer but had no inspiration on what to make. Tacos, shepherd's pie, nothing sounded good. So to Pinterest I went and searched for ground beef. I came across this recipe.

I ended up using it as a loose base for our dinner. Here's what we had. It was gluten free and yummy!

Recipe Ingredients
   1 pound lean ground beef
   2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
   ½ onion, chopped
   4oz strong chicken stock (4oz water + one bouillon cube)
   1 tsp dried thyme
   1 tsp garlic powder
   3/4 teaspoon salt
   ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
   4T Worcestershire sauce
   ½ cup plain yogurt
   ¼ cup milk
   2T butter
   1 cup mixed veggies (fresh/frozen)
   2-3 cups GF pasta

1. Brown ground beef. Add any fresh veggies, onions, garlic and chicken stock. Bring to simmer until veggies are tender and meat is thoroughly cooked.
2. Put pasta on to cook while browning beef.
3. Prepare sauce. Combine yogurt, spices, milk, and Worchestershire sauce. Add to browned meat mixture and bring to simmer. Add butter.
4. Toss together with pasta once complete and serve!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunger Games

Tim and I got to see the movie yesterday!! I can't remember the last time we saw any movie on opening weekend and it's been a long time since we even saw one in the theater. Thanks to our awesome family friend who kept Nolan we had a great time and nice gluten full lunch afterwards too.

Overall, I really liked the movie but... I still hope everyone who wants to see it reads the books first. I felt having read the books made the movie so much better. The first few minutes gave me a headache and made me feel out of place instead of being immersed in the story. The camera work is shaky and zoomed strangely. Luckily it calmed down a bit but I still wish they had zoomed back a bit and given us wider angle views of everything.

I was also a bit disappointed in the citizens from the Capitol. They didn't seem quite as superficial as they are in the books nor did they seem as eccentric. Everyone was dolled up with makeup and such but the surgical enhancements the books talk about were lacking. I think seeing the citizens there who have so much time that they modify their bodies really brings a stark contrast to those dying in the streets of hunger in other districts. Overall, Tim agreed too that the entire mood of the movie both in the arena and out didn't seem quite as desperate.

The critique above doesn't mean it wasn't a great movie. It's one I'll totally buy on disc and I hope they continue to make the entire trilogy. If you haven't read the books yet, drop whatever else you're doing like surfing the web and read them!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Training season

It's about that time. Potty themed books have been purchased, tiny whitey tighties are in abundance and a new toilet seat adorns our second bathroom. I'm hoping that the fact that I have to take in each of Nolan's little underwear so they don't fall straight off isn't a sign that we should be potty training yet!

We're not yet in full potty training mode mainly because I just don't have a few days in a row without plans that we can stay home and really concentrate. Instead, I'm still working on putting him on the potty every time we're home and hoping to catch him a few times to I've him the general idea. Right now he just thinks it's fun to sit up there and make crazy noises!

Here's a list of our favorite potty related products so far! We haven't ventured out in the world to try pottying yet so these are just our at home likes.

Little Looster Booster
This awesome step stool and footrest is perfect for little ones looking for security on the toilet. Not only does it let them step up to the toilet themselves, it also gives them a place to keep their feet. This helps them feel secure and hopefully sit longer on the toilet which is our main goal at the moment.  It made an immediate difference for Nolan. he was more secure, stable, and more comfortable. The stool wraps around the toilet so it's safe and doesn't lead them to fall off. It's also compact enough that adults can use the toilet while the stool remains in place, a must for us as Nolan's bathroom is also our guest bathroom. The inventor and designer of this product is a mom from just south of us. I met her this week when I picked up a bunch of stools myself and the moms in my group ordered. I love supporting innovative mom-trepreneurs! We were lucky enough to be able to utilize a coupon code and got the stool for a great price.

Bemis all-in-one toilet seat
This toilet seat is such a unique and necessary tool. I've tried the floor potty seats, too messy, and a snap in seat that fits over the normal toilet seat, too much hassle. Once we found this seat though, we were excited. It allows the toilet to be in use by adults and toddlers without removing equipment. The toddler portion is built right in and is held to the lid by a magnet. When you need it you just simply pull it down. It seems like such a no-brainer but I've only seen it carried in one store (Home Depot).

July Update: After our move, our new toilets were round shaped and our favorite seat no longer fit. Home depot did not have any round ones either. We did however find one on walmart.com and low and behold it was available in store near us for only 29 dollars. It works much the same but is slightly different. We like it too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Car Seats!!

I want to start this post off by saying No I don't think I'm the perfect mom or my way is the only way but when it comes to properly fastening your child in their carseat there is only one correct way!

I cringe almost every time I see a picture of a child in their carseat posted to my Facebook feed. Then I have a ten minute internal debate about whether or not I should say something and usually wind up being quiet but wishing I hadn't. Of course a few of you do post awesome pics of your kiddos properly in their seats which makes me smile. To the others, here's what I would say!!

The chest clip on your baby's harness should not be down below their ribs! It should be fastened at armpit level. Yes, this keeps them from leaning forward but that is the point. The entire harness should be snug. Between the shoulder and strap you should only be able to fit one finger. It should be hugging your child at all times not waiting for them to fling into it if you suddenly get in a wreck.

I admit I've made mistakes fastening Nolan in too. I've even drove a few miles without realizing I was distracted while loading the car after a long day at Sea World and forgot to clip his bottom part of the harness in! I have to remind myself to stop whatever I'm doing when I fasten him in and make sure his harness is snug, no straps are rolled or bunched, and chest clip is back in place where it should be at armpit level.Read that carseat manual or look at a few safety sites online! It's your child's life at stake after all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Insurance Rant!!

I hate insurance companies. They are inherently evil and their system of billing is so convoluted you never have any idea what you might end up paying. In FL, there is a state law that insurance plans which cover maternity care must cover midwife and birth center care also as an alternative to obstetricians and hospitals.

For this birth, I have been planning to use our local birth center and midwife practice. I've spent the last 8 weeks trying to figure out what I will actually pay in the end. My insurance plan also specifically states they cover birth center births in addition to FL law. The only birth center in the county though, is not considered in network. I was first assured that because there was no other facility and my insurance allowed births at birth centers I'd simply need to apply for gap coverage. It was a formality and once approved the center would be considered in network for me. Formality... WRONG!!!

A new policy my insurance company just put in to place means when reviewing gap coverage applications they look for any physician able to do the procedure in network. That means that although my insurance and FL law require them to cover birthing at a birth center, they've denied my request to have them cover my birth center birth on the grounds that other providers are available. When I ask which provider I'm told only of obstetricians and hospitals. "But don't I have coverage with a birth center?", I ask. "Yes you do," but when I ask where I'm only told names of hospitals. It's an illogical round about.

I was then told well you can stay at the center and just pay out of network prices. That seems expensive but do-able until you read the fine print. Out of Network they cover way less but that's not the big kicker. You have to magically figure out what amount they consider reasonable and customary and that's the number they will pay a portion of. Hoping this would all work out, I got the codes my midwife bills with and the amounts.

Now pregnancy is a weird thing with insurance anyways. The doctors don't bill every time you visit. They bill separately for labs, tests, and ultrasounds but other wise all visit charges and the delivery charge come at the end with one global charge. The of course you have the hospital sending out a ridiculous bill with a million more charges. Most OB's charge between $3k and $5k (then the hospital charges a ton more). My midwife practice charges $4,500 total for all prenatal appointments, post natal checkups, and the entire delivery of baby. There is no second hospital bill or anything.

So if you had to guess how much an insurance company would say is reasonable for all prenatal appointments, post natal checkups, and the entire delivery of baby what would it be?? This is everything no second bill for anesthesia, hospital room charges, nurses etc. I'm so flabbergasted right now I can't even think of a logical argument to make with them.

My insurance company believes if I go out of network the amount they will pay 45% of is $31.97. Yep you heard right. If it was that inexpensive to have a baby I wouldn't pay them thousands of dollars a year in premiums!!!!